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St. Petersburg police sergeant suspended for not reporting crash

ST. PETERSBURG — A police sergeant was suspended for three days without pay on Thursday for failing to immediately report her knowledge of a hit-and-run crash.

Her punishment turned out to be worse than what the hit-and-run driver got.

Sgt. Orlawnah Sandy, 34, was suspended for conduct unbecoming an officer and failing to report a crime. Police Chief Chuck Harmon said she told a chain of command board she should have done things differently.

"We never felt she was trying to cover it up," Harmon said. "But she let this guy self-report it when in my opinion she should have reported it."

The driver in the crash was an acquaintance, Willye Shaw Jr., 38, a technical support specialist at the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office. According to St. Petersburg police, Shaw struck a pedestrian the night of Dec. 4. Shaw said the pedestrian threatened him, so he panicked and took off.

Minutes later he called Sandy, who was off-duty, and asked her to go back to the scene with him. They found nothing. Shaw reported the incident an hour later. He was arrested on a charge of leaving the scene of a crash involving injuries.

There are discrepancies in the accounts of Sandy and Shaw about when she told him to call the police. But the board found that Sandy failed to immediately report it herself and failed to tell the arresting officer of her involvement.

The charge against Shaw was dropped in February, according to his attorney, because he did report the incident — to Sandy. Shaw was suspended for a day on June 10 for bringing "discredit" to the Sheriff's Office.

St. Petersburg police sergeant suspended for not reporting crash 10/06/11 [Last modified: Thursday, October 6, 2011 9:47pm]
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