Asheville Police Department Chief William Anderson publicly apologized today for “a poor decision” in directing the APD, rather than the State Highway Patrol, to handle the initial investigation of a March 9 accident involving his son, Chad Anderson.
“After being notified of the crash by the patrol commander, I directed him to treat this incident as we would any other,” Anderson told media at a press conference. “This is something I try to ensure in any high profile incident in order to maintain credibility and integrity of the investigation. However, in this case, it was a mistake and one I accept full responsibility for.”
That this was a “lapse in judgment, he said, that “just didn’t dawn on me. Looking back, this was because I’d mentally switched from being the chief of police to a father concerned about his son.” He said he had apologized for his actions to the command staff and the officers involved, and had no reason to doubt their professionalism, “but they never should have been placed in that situation.”
The case has been referred to the State Bureau of Investigation, and Assistant City Manager Jeff Richardson said the city is also conducting its own administrative review.
“The Asheville city manager’s office believes this is a necessary step to ensure there are adequate checks and balances,” Richardson said. “While the criminal investigation continues, on a separate but parallel check, the city manager’s office is responsible for the continued evaluation and effectiveness of the police chief and of the police department.”
There was a gun in the car, as well as reports of a driver “Dianty,” who fled the scene. Anderson said he couldn’t comment on any of those issues, or if his son was intoxicated at the time, due to the continuing SBI investigation.
Anderson’s son is employed by the city’s water department since July, as a park ranger making $10.27 an hour, according to city records. Chief Anderson said there are no personnel changes due to the incident, and Richardson said he couldn’t comment if Chad Anderson would face termination due to the incident.