EDITOR’S NOTE: As an isolated incident, we understand that this story does not rise to the level of a major news story. However, as we continue to investigate allegations of misconduct and corruption inside the Leland Police Department, we feel that it’s another example that paints a picture of significant problems within the department.
LELAND, NC (WWAY) — It doesn’t happen very often, but it can happen; a police officer is involved in an accident. It happened back in August to Lt. Rick Dellapia of the Leland Police Department.
According to an accident report by the Highway Patrol, Dellapia was on Village Road trying to take a left into the Citgo from the right hand lane, when he clipped another driver who was in the left hand lane turning left. The report says Dellapia was driving a brand new unmarked 2011 Chevy.
The driver, who wishes to keep her name out of the media, says Dellapia jumped out of his vehicle saying he was sorry, asking if she was okay, and saying he didn’t see her making the left.
She says about half a mile down sat an unmarked LPD Charger who saw the wreck. She says that officer came to the scene and while she was trying to call a friend to let them know about the fender-bender, started asking her questions like, “Don’t you think you were speeding?” She answered that if he was clocking her, he should tell her how fast she was going making the left hand turn. He replied that he didn’t have his radar gun out, but knew she was speeding.
Then she says while she was on the phone with a friend, one of the Leland officers got in her car without her permission and moved it into a parking lot.
The driver tells us so many officers showed up on the scene and crowded around her she felt very uncomfortable.
The Highway Patrol was eventually called in to write up the wreck, but the investigating trooper says in the report because the car was moved, because of conflicting statements and a lack of evidence, he was, “unable to determine the sequence or contributing circumstances for the collision.” The driver claims most cops know that moving a car after an accident can make it very difficult to figure out who’s at fault.
We’ve put in a call to the Leland Police Department for a comment. So far they have not returned our call.