Insurance Fraud NEWS
California cop suspected of fake claim after hit-and-run
March 14, 2019, El Monte, CA
An off-duty El Monte police detective crashed into another car in La Verne three years ago, then left the scene and an injured Rancho Cucamonga couple, authorities alleged.
Eric Johnston, 43, pleaded not guilty Tuesday, March 12, to hit-and-run resulting in death or injury, hit-and-run resulting injury to another person and insurance fraud, according to Greg Risling, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County District Attorney.
Risling said the victims, who aren’t listed in the criminal complaint, are a husband and wife who were then 57 and 58. If convicted as charged, Risling said Johnston faces a possible maximum sentence of six years and eight months.
The case stems from a March 15, 2016 collision at Bonita Avenue and Damien Avenue in La Verne.
La Verne police received a call about a hit-and-run crash at 8:35 p.m. La Verne Police Detective Sgt. David Mortazavi said the two victims sustained significant injuries and were taken to a hospital.
Police said during the investigation, detectives found the vehicle used in the hit-and-run.
“Through a series of search warrants and interviews, the assigned investigators concluded that the registered owner, and driver, of the outstanding vehicle, was likely an off-duty El Monte police officer, Eric Johnston,” according to a police statement,.
Mortazavi declined to reveal details on what led investigators to Johnston.
The DA’s Office filed charges against Johnston on March 5.
Johnston surrendered himself when he showed up at Pomona Superior Court on March 12 for his arraignment, Mortazavi said. He is currently out on bond.
Johnston returns to court on April 18.
El Monte Police Chief Dave Reynoso said Johnston, who has been with El Monte police for more than 10 years, was placed on paid administrative leave once La Verne police notified the department that it started a criminal investigation on him.
Johnston was then put on unpaid administrative leave when the DA’s office charged him March 5, Reynoso said.
“At this point, we will wait (for the) outcome of the criminal investigation before we can complete our administrative investigation,” Reynoso said. He pointed out that El Monte police isn’t involved with the criminal investigation.
Source: San Gabriel Valley Tribune