Former Greece police chief Forsythe charged with DWI, GPD internal investigation announced
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Monroe County District Attorney Sandra Doorley Monday announced former Greece police chief Andrew Forsythe is charged with DWI and leaving the scene of an accident.
Doorley said cameras at the Hyatt Regency in Rochester captured Forsythe drinking six alcoholic beverages over the course of a little more than two hours at the "Signal 30 Dinner" charity event, which benefits the families of fallen New York State Police Troopers, on Oct. 20 before getting into his town-owned SUV.
"We don’t know what he drank from the time he arrived at the event leading up until 10:12 p.m.," Doorley said.
Camera footage from a church on Vintage Lane shows sparks coming from the SUV. Camera footage and 911 calls tracked Forsythe down North Avenue, English Road and North Greece Road until the SUV completely broke down.
"At that time his vehicle had one functional tire," Doorley said.
She said at around 12:55 a.m., he hit a guardrail but did not report the crash until 1:43 a.m. when he claimed he struck a deer.
"This was approximately 48 minutes after the crash," Doorley said.
Here is a photo of former chief Forsythe‘s SUV. Shared by the DA’s office. Appears to have been taken at English and N. Greece Roads where the SUV died. At the time, the DA says it had one working wheel. @news10nbc pic.twitter.com/Lu2K7WHVeZ— Berkeley Brean (@whec_bbrean) November 8, 2021
The officer who filled out the Greece police report says he drove the chief home.
The SUV was towed to the police impound lot.
Doorley was asked if Forsythe should have been given a sobriety test.
"In my expert opinion?" Doorley said. "Yes. Absolutely."
He’s scheduled to be arraigned on Dec. 9 in Greece Town Court.
Forsythe resigned from his position on Oct. 25, just two days after he was placed on administrative leave over the crash of his official vehicle on I-390.
The DA recommended an outside investigation be conducted into the Greece Police Department.
GPD initially said Forsythe swerved to avoid a deer and crashed into a guardrail along I-390. The department says the former chief couldn’t radio in at the time so he drove his damaged SUV away from the scene. The DA’s office confirmed to News10NBC that some of its investigators were at the scene of the crash days after.
And an hour later at 3pm, the @GreeceTown Supervisor Bill Reilich will be holding his own briefing. We’ll be there too. https://t.co/q50mW7BF2n— Jennifer Lewke (@WHEC_JLewke) November 8, 2021
The office began investigating Forsythe at the request of the department. The day he resigned, the car he was driving was taken to the Monroe County Crime Lab in Rochester for further investigation.
Reilich said he had no idea the former chief drove on three wheels for five miles until the weekend. That’s when he contacted the DA and put Forsythe on leave.
Reilich called the charges "extremely troubling" and said they showed a "complete disregard" for the office and public safety.
Reilich said he will be conducting an internal investigation into the Greece Police Department because he feels the fact that a field sobriety test or breathalyzer was not administered for Forsythe is concerning.
It will be conducted by Joe Morabito. Morabito is now retired but he briefly served as Interim Cheif of the Rochester Police Department, and he was Deputy Chief before that.
Reilich also said Monday the three officers who responded to Forsythe’s crash: Deputy Chief Casey Voelkl, Lt. Andrew Potter, and Officer Evan Kalpin, were suspended indefinitely. Potter and Kalpin were both named in the DA’s investigation report and Voelkl was in charge of road patrols on the night of the crash.
Three Greece Police officers have been suspended for driving for former Chief Forsythe home following his accident. pic.twitter.com/b1C3sW8RsO— Patrick Moussignac (@WHEC_Moussignac) November 8, 2021
Reilich said he didn’t suspect there was anything more to the crash at the time because he was told Forsythe swerved to avoid a deer and was not seriously hurt, and that he felt Forsythe was doing a good job, up until he learned through the media that there was more to the crash than he was originally told.
"I am going to be more involved [with the police department] now, to make sure the culture changes," Reilich said.
He said overall, he is very proud of the men and women of the Greece Police Department, but that the public needs to know that he will not tolerate something like this happening again.
"I am confident that our internal investigation will be a critical step towards what I’m anticipating is an evaluation, and potential overhaul of the police department general orders and additional protocols put in place," Reilich said.
The town is now searching for a new police chief which Acting Chief Jason Helfer takes the wheel.
"As the investigation proceeds more suspensions may become necessary," Reilich said. "Acting Chief Helfer, and I have put plans in place to maintain appropriate staffing levels. The residents of the town can rest assured that our department will continue to be staffed and our officers will be available and focused on the safety of the welfare of all the residents in the Town of Greece."
Watch the District Attorney’s full press conference here (mobile users, click here):
Watch the Greece Town Supervisor’s full press conference here (mobile users, click here):