RACINE — A Racine police sergeant was cited for operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated, hit-and-run involving injury, inattentive driving, and refusing to take a test for intoxication after he allegedly crashed into an occupied parked vehicle on Dec. 17.
Sgt. Samuel Stulo, a 16-year veteran with the Racine Police Department, has been placed on administrative leave after the crash, which reportedly injured a 63-year-old woman.
The information was obtained after The Journal Times received an anonymous tip and questioned Police Department officials 10 days after the incident occurred. Shortly after, Racine police issued a press release. The department did not reveal Stulo’s name. However, his name was included in online court records and a Racine County Sheriff’s Office incident report.
The report also indicates that the Sheriff’s Office is requesting Stulo’s operating privilege be revoked, due to his alleged driving while under the influence of alcohol and refusing to submit to a blood draw.
According to the incident report, which The Journal Times obtained Thursday at the Racine County Courthouse, at approximately 7:55 p.m. on Dec. 17, Racine police and firefighters were dispatched to the 1900 block of State Street for a crash with injuries after a truck reportedly crashed into a parked vehicle and tried to flee.
The offending vehicle, reportedly driven by Stulo, took off north on State Street but pulled over 600 feet from the scene with its hazard lights on in front of the BP gas station at 1975 State St., according to the report.
At about 8:30 p.m., a sheriff’s deputy was dispatched to the scene to assist Racine investigators. The deputy reported smelling the odor of intoxicants coming from Stulo’s breath.
According to the incident report, Stulo admitted to drinking “a few beers with waters in between beers,” and showed clues of impairment after being given field sobriety tests. Stulo told officers he was looking down at his phone when he hit the parked car.
Stulo allegedly said he had come from Maxine’s, a bar at 835 Washington Ave., after working out after work. He also reportedly claimed someone had punched him in the throat “for no reason” when he got out of his vehicle.
The incident report states that Stulo asked for a lawyer and refused to submit to a blood draw until he spoke with his attorney.
After receiving a search warrant, Stulo’s blood was able to be collected at 10:42 p.m., nearly two hours after Stulo was arrested. The results of a blood test were not included in the report.
George Gayton said that he saw the crash happen. His aunt was the one who was in the car that Stulo reportedly hit. She suffered a broken rib and neck laceration, he said.
Gayton was walking out of a rental property his mother owns on State Street when he saw the truck crash into the back of the car his aunt was sitting in, which was parked along the curb.
When Gayton went to help his aunt, he saw the truck back up and try to drive away, but the truck appeared to be spilling oil, was smoking heavily and only made it about 600 feet before coming to a halt down the block, Gayton said.
As neighbors came to the scene and helped his aunt, Gayton ran after the truck. Gayton said he held the driver’s side door of the truck closed, because it looked like Stulo was trying to get out.
“He was trying to run again,” Gayton said. “He looked like he was under the influence of something.”
Gayton said his aunt’s car was totaled in the crash.
The day after the crash, Gayton said he was interviewed by law enforcement as an eyewitness to the incident.
Others on leave
The Journal Times received the anonymous tip about the crash on Thursday, the same day that a story recapping the year’s police controversies, “Top stories of 2018, No. 6,” was published.
Stulo is now one of at least four Racine Police officers in high-profile cases who are on paid administrative leave.
Brinelle Nabors has been on leave since December 2015 after he allegedly punched a Park High School student who had been accused of bringing drugs to school. He faces criminal charges for felony count of misconduct in public office and misdemeanor counts of battery and disorderly conduct.
The Racine Police Department has not released the reason why Sgt. Terrence “Terry” Jones was placed on leave. However, he’s been on leave since Jan. 3, 2017. Jones has not been charged with a crime.
Combined, Nabors and Jones have been paid over $300,000 for nearly five years while not working.
In addition, a Racine police officer, who has not been named yet, was placed on leave Dec. 21 after firing his gun at a vehicle that a suspect, later identified as 20-year-old Hunter Hanson, was accelerating toward him. Hanson remained at large as of Thursday night.
Special prosecutor called upon
Attorney Patrick Cafferty, who is defending Stulo, said that the case has been assigned to the Kenosha District Attorney as a special prosecutor. Cafferty said no charges have been filed yet.
Cafferty is also a member of the Racine Police and Fire Commission, which is responsible for the hiring and firing of police officers in Racine. Cafferty said that he would recuse himself from commission decisions that involve his clients. Cafferty is also defending Nabors, whose trial is scheduled for Jan. 8.
The commission also has a hand in certain disciplinary actions, such as placing officers on unpaid leave or firing an officer, but cannot hold a hearing unless one is requested by a police chief, an aggrieved citizen or by a member of the commission.