A Boise police officer was asleep or drowsy when his patrol vehicle crossed into oncoming traffic and sideswiped a passenger car in October, Ada County Sheriff's investigators determined.
The sheriff's office submitted its report last month to the county prosecutor's office, which will determine whether Officer Richard Burch will face any charges in connection with the early morning crash. Investigators' findings are detailed in an Idaho Transportation Department crash report obtained by the Statesman.
Boise police did not respond to a request for comment Thursday.
According to the ITD report, Officer Burch, 47, was driving east on Fairview Avenue near Milwaukee Street about 5:30 a.m. Oct. 20 when his patrol Ford Explorer drifted left, crossing through a two-way turn lane and into a westbound lane, where it hit a Dodge Intrepid driven by Michael Blanchard, 28, of Boise.
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After hitting Blanchard's car, Burch's SUV continued across the westbound lanes into a Winco driveway, then drove over a curb and sidewalk and down a grass embankment where it hit a fire hydrant. His vehicle then re-entered the road and came to a stop facing southeast in the westbound lanes, according to the crash report.
Boise police initially said the crash may have been caused by a mechanical failure of the patrol vehicle's steering system. The investigation report cites contributing factors to Burch's role in the crash as inattention; being asleep, drowsy or fatigued; and failure to stay in his lane. Mechanical failure is not cited as a factor.
According to initial police reports, Blanchard was taken to a local hospital as a precaution. Burch reportedly was uninjured. The crash closed the intersection for several hours.