According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Henderson police officer, Justin Simo, has been suspended pending an investigation into a report that he drove a $50,000 unmarked SWAT vehicle that was obviously damaged and unsafe. Another motorist noticed the smoking SUV and followed it as it eventually started spewing sparks.
“My first thought was a drunk driver or something. It was evident the tire was completely gone on the car. I said, ‘What the hell is this guy doing?’ ” said the man, who asked that his name not be used.
Not knowing it was a SWAT vehicle, the motorist called 911. By the time the SUV stopped, it was on fire.
“The dude came out (of the car) and said, ‘Can you believe this? My car’s on fire,’ ” the caller said. “I said, ‘Dude, you just drove a mile and a half on a blown tire.’ ”
At this point the motorist was trying to warn Simo to move away from the burning SUV while simultaneously conversing with the 911 dispatcher, saying “I’m sorry. I’m trying to talk to him. I think he’s drunk.” Simo was suspended with pay after a story was published about the incident five days later. The Review-Journal says it is uncertain if any sobriety test was conducted even though the Las Vegas police were aware of the 911 caller’s suspicions.
Las Vegas police, which investigated the fire, determined nothing criminal had taken place and did not take an incident report, spokeswoman Laura Meltzer said.
Henderson police declared there was no evidence that he’d been drinking. Of course, if there was no test, there would be no evidence.
The contents of the vehicle, including tactical gear and a computer were lost. Simo managed to rescue at least some of the firearms.
The motorist who called 911 was never questioned by police and didn’t know the SUV driver was a cop until he was contacted by a reporter.
“He told me there was ammo inside,” he said. “I thought, ‘Why don’t you get a little closer, you moron.’ ”
It didn’t matter to him whether Simo had been drinking, he said.
“For anyone to drive a mile with your tire blown out is kind of an idiot in itself.”