Resignation and charges for Chief Scott Miller of Washington Township Police Department

Resignation and charges for Chief Scott Miller of Washington Township Police Department

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Northampton Taxpayer started this petition to Northampton County District Attorney Terry Houck

69 News, Emma Wright

The Washington Township, Northampton County police chief was cited after he was involved in a single-vehicle crash, Northampton County district attorney Terry Houck announced at a news conference Tuesday afternoon.

Chief Scott Miller was cited Tuesday for failure to report an accident and driving at an unsafe speed for road conditions on January 6, Houck said. An investigation by the Northampton County District Attorney's office found Miller had been at a restaurant for about eight hours before he totaled his truck on Kesslersville Road in Plainfield Township.

 

 

 

The road was "snowy and slippery" at the time of the crash, Houck said.

 


A responding officer noted Miller had slurred speech and was "mush-mouthed," and had alcohol on his breath, Houck said.

Miller said at the scene there was no damage at all to the vehicle and "falsely stated" that he had not been drinking, Houck said. Miller denied drinking to the officers two times, Houck said.

Miller never mentioned the restaurant when talking to officers, Houck said.

There was no obvious staggering or falling, and Miller's speech was not continuously slurred, Houck said.

No breath tests were administered to Miller when police arrived after the crash, Houck said. There were no follow-up questions, and no additional efforts were made to determine if Miller had been "under the influence to the degree that it would render him incapable of safely driving," Houck said. No summary citations were issued, Houck said.

 


"For the possiblity of a DUI charge, the passage of time and the loss of potential evidence if it existed at all, prevented us from establishing a factual basis for us to charge Mr. Miller with this offense," Houck said.

The DA says Miller didn't call police after the accident. He called a towing company who called police due to the amount of damage that had occurred.

At times, officers shut off the audio, but not the video, when they were near Miller, Houck said.

Police did not inform the homeowner about the crash at the scene. The homeowner found out about what happened when he later went to the police station, Houck said. 

Houck said he did not believe officers knew that the home had been damaged on the night of the crash.

Houck said the police department could have handled the incident better.

 


Slate Belt Regional Police Department Acting Chief Jonathon Hoadley tells 69 News he appreciates the DA's investigation.

He believes the officers involved followed their training.

 


“I'm hoping with DA Houck's press conference that a lot of questions have been answered and people understand that we were dispatched to an accident scene by a tow company and Chief Miller didn't contact us, as he should have. There was a significant amount of time between us getting there and this accident actually happening,” Hoadley said.

Hoadley says Slate Belt Regional police conducted an internal investigation and decided no disciplinary action needed to be taken.

DA Houck said he wanted to put an independent set of eyes on a crash involving Washington Township Police Chief Scott Miller earlier this month.

 


A lot of that has to do with the fact there appears to be a bunch of different stories floating around from anonymous stories and that nature," Houck told 69 News back on January 22. "There's just too much speculation and innuendo out there, and I just want to put all that to rest by giving it this independent objective look."

A property owner in Plainfield Township said the crash just after midnight on January 6 destroyed his landscaping, moved a water pump and damaged a stove pipe.

WFMZ's Jamie Stover was told two Slate Belt Regional police officers responded to the wreck. They did not request a field sobriety test, and Miller stayed on scene and was cooperative.

"You can't just drag someone out of the car and make them do a field test, you have to have some indication the person is driving intoxicated to point where they can't safely operate a vehicle," Houck said previously.

 

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