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GPD on Red Jeep: 2nd investigation still going

By Eric Rosario

When Guam Police Officer Chris Champion responded to a crash at the ITC intersection February 25 that destroyed Jerry's Kitchen, it took him just a few hours to open and close the case.

  • Within those few hours, Mr. Champion determined:

  • No need to review surveillance footage to see what happened or who the actual driver was

  • No need to test whether the driver of the red Jeep that destroyed the restaurant was drunk or high

  • The driver did not have a reckless disregard for human life and property, and therefore only cited the supposed-driver with imprudent driving.

It took days for the Guam Police Department's leadership to admit an off-duty cop was involved in that crash. And that was only after the public learned Sen. Jose "Pedo" Terlaje's office had lied that his granddaughter, Guam Police Officer Joneen Terlaje, merely arrived at the crash scene after the crash.

The public outcry that followed force chief of police Stephen Ignacio to order the investigation back open last week. And while the first investigation took only hours to complete and Mr. Ignacio told the public Mr. Champion was trained, skilled, and qualified to make the determinations he made, the second investigation has taken more than a week so far.

"Traffic investigators are still conducting their follow up investigation," police spokesman Sgt. Paul Tapao said about the second crash investigation.

It has now been 19 days since the crash and since GPD knew or should have known of any possible misconduct on the part of the two police officers known to be part of the post-crash investigation (Terlaje and Champion). The police chief still has not opened an internal affairs investigation into the officers. With 19 days past, Ignacio only has 41 days left to take administrative corrective action on the two officers.

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