LAPD Officer Under Investigation In Hit-And-Run

LOS ANGELES (AP) - A veteran Los Angeles police officer is under
investigation, suspected of driving drunk, running over two people with his Hummer, then fleeing the scene, authorities said.

William J. Skett, an eight-year LAPD veteran assigned to the elite Metropolitan Division, was arrested about 2:30 a.m. on June 20 at his home, about an hour after the incident in a Saugus parking lot.

Witnesses reported seeing the driver of the Hummer strike two people while backing up. The driver got out of his vehicle, saw the victims lying injured on the ground, then ran from the scene, sheriff's detectives said.

Sheriff's deputies went to Skett's home after finding the abandoned Hummer in the parking lot with Skett's LAPD badge inside, detectives said.

When Skett was confronted by deputies "he refused to acknowledge he was the driver at the scene," sheriff's Det. Jeff Maag said.

"Deputies observed he had objective symptoms that he was under the influence of alcohol and he was arrested for drunk driving and felony hit-and-run," Maag said. He said deputies believe another person picked Skett up at the parking lot after he left the scene.

Authorities declined to identify the victims. But a relative identified the woman as Susan Sims, 62. She suffered multiple broken ribs and collapsed lungs.

Her son, an Antelope Valley prosecutor, said he was outraged at the officer's alleged conduct. "If what has been told to me is true, this police officer is a coward and he is also a disgrace to the Police Department," Deputy Dist. Atty. Jon Hatemi said.

Skett's attorney, Ira Salzman, said "the facts will show that William Skett did not do what he was accused of doing." He declined to elaborate, saying he had not yet seen any police reports.

Skett is free on $50,000 bail. He has been assigned to home-duty
pending resolution of his case, police said.
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Information from: Los Angeles Times, http://www.latimes.com

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

AP-NY-07-04-08 0428EDT


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