DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – A Dayton police officer is accused of stalling a fatal crash investigation.
Officer Erica Cash is charged with several misdemeanors.
Trotwood police believe she interfered with the investigation into a fatal crash in October 2013 that involved an acquaintance of hers.
The crash happened on Little Richmond Road in the early morning hours of October 19.
An SUV and a car collided, killing Patricia Smith, 35, and injuring her passenger, David Battles.
The GMC Yukon driver, Jermaine Griffin, 29, fled the scene, according to police.
However, traffic reports note that Smith was at fault for failing to yield. The report also cites Griffin for driving 80 MPH, nearly twice the speed limit.
Trotwood Captain John Porter says the department worked with Dayton police department to find Griffin and that’s when Cash became involved.
“From our investigation we know that they were acquaintances with each other and that she was present later on in the morning when we were looking for Mr. Griffin,” said Porter.
Now, Officer Cash is charged with falsifying charges and two counts obstructing an official business; she’s also been placed on restricted duty pending the outcome of the criminal case.
Investigators say evident shows that Cash helped Griffin, who still remains on the run following the issuing of two felony warrants for his arrest.
2NEWS has been digging deeper into Cash’s history and have learned the 2nd district patrol officer graduated from the Dayton Police Academy in 2008, becoming a full-time officer in 2009.
According to her police personnel file, prior to becoming full-time, in 2008, Cash was ordered to take polygraph test by the DPD’s internal affairs bureau, related to allegations she made in a report earlier that year.
Since then, she has had three written commendations, and in her performance reviews, managers noted “a high level of professionalism.” They also said she is “consistently reliable” and “works hard to do the right thing
For Trotwood’s Captain Porter, he says he’s disappointed to see a fellow officer in this light.
2NEWS’ Beairshelle Edmé asked Porter how he felt knowing Cash, an officer of law, allegedly helped a criminal to which he said, “Well it’s very disturbing to begin with. It’s very distributing to our officers who have to investigate this and I’m sure it’s disturbing to Dayton (police department).”
2 NEWS has also been digging deeper into the history of Cash’s alleged acquaintance, Jermaine Griffin.
In a report obtained by 2NEWS, it states that Griffin claimed he was “drunk and passed out in and that someone stole his car.”
We found the 29-year-old has a long criminal history; Griffin’s license was suspended at the time of the accident.
He’s also been arrested for various traffic offenses at least four times since 2007.
And in an odd twist, according to family, Griffin was a former co-worker of Smith’s granddaughter.
2 NEWS reached out to both victims families.
Passenger, David Battles declined to comment at this time, but Smith’s daughter, Amber Lovelace did speak.
She said she was happy to see the investigation move forward towards justice, but also was not surprised that an officer has been accused in this case.
Lovelace says she hopes Griffin turns himself in and reflects on his actions.
“You don’t know if that person is hurt. You don’t know if you done killed this person. I don’t want nobody to ever go to this grief that we had .This was a senseless death that if you had a just been paying attention to the road going the speed limit our mom might have still been here, you know,” said Smith’s daughter.
The Smith family says they plan on continuing to be an active part of the investigation.
Montgomery County prosecutors refused felony charges back in May.
Cash is now charged with several misdemeanors and is scheduled into court July 9.
Trotwood officials say if you have any information on Griffin’s whereabouts or this case contact CRIME STOPPERS at 937-222-STOP or 1-800-637-5735.