Courts

Prosecutors wrapping up review of ousted county exec’s deadly crash

ROSEVILLE, Calif. — Prosecutors led by Morgan Gire in Roseville are wrapping up their review of a deadly crash in Rocklin, where former Placer County Executive Officer Todd Leopold struck and killed a teenager as he walked in the roadway in March.

As first reported by The Update, prosecutors launched their customary review of the incident on May 13th, two days after the Rocklin Police Department finished its own investigation into the crash, recommending no charges be filed against Leopold.

A source with direct knowledge of the review, who spoke anonymously to discuss it, said officials in the Placer County DA’s Office expect to finalize a report on the incident next week. Anthony Williams’ next-of-kin will be notified first of the decision before the findings are released to the public.

Leopold struck and killed Williams, a senior at Inderkum High School in Sacramento, on March 19 outside of Lucille’s Bar-B-Que in the 6600 Block of Lonetree Boulevard as he stood in the roadway. Leopold’s purple Jeep Wrangler hit the teenager after a vehicle he was closely trailing abruptly swerved to avoid Williams. The Jeep came to a stop on the right side of the road as bystanders performed CPR on Williams to no avail, according to a witness. He was later pronounced dead at Sutter Roseville Medical Center.

Police have released scant details on the crash, and a statement by the DA’s Office is likely one of the only ways information on the crash will be known without a release of the police report by Williams’ family or Leopold – an unlikely occurrence given the presence of several civil actions that have cropped up over the collision.

A man who signed a declaration in court saying he was Williams’ brother, Isaac Tidwell, has filed a motor vehicle negligence lawsuit against Leopold for funeral expenses and damages in the crash. Another sibling of Williams, Queenisha Wade, is also suing Leopold.

“The driver deserves to be accountable for his actions no matter his achievements,” Wade said in a statement to The Update. “We truly deserve justice for my baby brother Anthony Williams.”

In his lawsuit, Tidwell claims Leopold didn’t slow down before the collision and breached his “duty to drive with reasonable care for the safety of others” in direct contrast with every other driver on the road that night.

Tidwell also claims police didn’t probe the possibility that Leopold was driving drunk, despite his eyes being red and watery following the crash.

The Sacramento Bee, citing an unnamed source who provided the paper with the full police report, said officers wrote that Leopold didn’t smell of alcohol and was heavily distraught, crying, and emotional as he recounted the event to law enforcement – effectively explaining why his eyes looked the way they did.

The Update was unable to independently confirm the cited report’s authenticity, as officials have declined to release it under state law.

Following the crash, rumors in the community began to swirl that Leopold was the driver. Friends and family of Williams, as well as a server at Lucille’s, began to point fingers at the former Placer County bigwig as the driver of the vehicle.

Leopold didn’t address the crash for almost two months, breaking his silence on the matter after police announced they wouldn’t recommend charges against him in a statement emailed to county employees and media outlets.

“My words and emotions cannot adequately express my profound grief and sadness,” Leopold said. “I am heartbroken for the loss of this young man and extend my sincere condolences to Mr. Williams’ family, friends, and all of those impacted by this tragic accident.”

Later that month, Leopold was placed on administrative leave, and was terminated from his position as County Executive after the Board of Supervisors reviewed a workplace discrimination and harassment complaint against him.

On June 3rd, the five-person board reviewed the confidential complaint against Leopold, making the decision to terminate him for cause. His termination became effective earlier this month, and Assistant County Executive Officer Jane Christenson has been serving as acting CEO.

Leopold has not moved to challenge his termination, according to county records reviewed by The Update.

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