SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. — A fender-bender involving an off-duty Altamonte Springs officer is now the focus of an internal investigation. No one was hurt, but dash camera video obtained by 9 Investigates reporter Karla Ray showed that officer may have lied about details of the crash, causing the other driver to take the brunt of the blame.
On scene, Kenneth Schlimmer, who was off duty at the time, showed the responding Casselberry police officer a portion of his dash camera video that only showed the moment of impact of the crash. A full review of the video provided a different picture, 9 Investigates found.
The 19-year veteran officer was on Red Bug Lake Road in Casselberry on Oct. 22, 2016, when he and the man behind the wheel of an All My Sons moving truck both merged into the same lane at the same time.
Schlimmer was off duty, and he said he was using his assigned vehicle for an approved use.
“I was on my way in to work out and drop some stuff off at the station, and somebody sideswiped me at Red Bug and Winter Park,” Schlimmer told his on-duty watch commander moments after the crash.
Schlimmer told both his chain of command and the Casselberry officer who took the crash report that he was already in the lane when the moving truck hit the back of his squad car.
An internal memo showed Schlimmer had not shown his agency “the entire version of the video.” Instead, he had “keyed it up to play just prior to the crash impact,” which caused the second driver to be blamed and cited at the scene.
“I was sitting in the lane and he came into the side of me,” Schlimmer told his on-duty watch commander moments after the crash.
A second call he made while waiting for Casselberry police raised even more questions by his supervisors about why he as using his squad car in the first place.
“It’s going to be a minute, somebody hit me,” Schlimmer said to an unknown person by phone while sitting in his squad car, while the dash camera was rolling.
After that call, which indicated he was on the way to pick someone up, that same internal memorandum notes that he showed up at Florida Hospital Altamonte. After first telling his watch commander, who happened to be there for a call, that he needed to use the restroom, Schlimmer then admitted “his wife had been in the hospital,” according to the memo.
After Casselberry police reviewed the full dash camera video, more than a month after the crash, they amended their investigation to show that both drivers were in fact at fault, and both were cited.
Officers are not able to comment while under internal investigation, and Altamonte Springs police declined to comment while the investigation is still open.