District Attorney completes review of probe into former deputy's crash

No criminal charges will be brought against retired Columbia County Sheriff’s Office Deputy and sheriff candidate Dave Fuller resulting from his April 1 early morning crash on Highway 30 between Rainier and St. Helens.

Columbia County District Attorney Stephen Atchison said his office completed its review of an Oregon State Police investigation into the crash and determined there was no evidence additional offenses occurred beyond Fuller’s citation for allegedly not reporting the crash to the Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles.

“I looked at it and I couldn’t find anything that would qualify under the statute,” Atchison said.

Atchison said OSP Trooper Tyler Bechtel, who is based out of Government Camp and was heading the investigation, asked the district attorney to review the inch-thick investigative report to determine whether Fuller, a law enforcement officer at the time of the crash, had broken any laws. Atchison said he had no evidence Fuller had committed a crime.

Atchison said his review has no effect on the OSP traffic violation citation against Fuller for allegedly not reporting the single-vehicle crash. “The fact I made that decision does not affect the citation whatsoever,” he said.

Fuller was returning to his Scappoose residence from a casino fundraiser near Longview, Wash., when the crash occurred. Fuller admitted to having drinks at the fundraiser, but said he was not intoxicated at the time of the crash.

Oregon law requires crash reporting if the damage incurred reaches a $1,500 threshold or requires a tow from the scene, among other possible conditions.

Fuller maintains the damage was less than the $1,500, which contradicts OSP’s estimate. Also, despite having the vehicle towed from the scene, Fuller told The Spotlight that in his opinion the car did not have to be towed, though he did so to expedite removal of the vehicle, which he felt was at risk of possible theft.

Sheriff Jeff Dickerson, Fuller’s opponent in the Nov. 6 election, placed Fuller on paid administration leave on May 18 and launched a personnel investigation on suspicion Fuller had lied during initial interviews regarding the crash and on allegations he was intoxicated when the it occurred. Fuller maintains he did nothing wrong and claims the probe was politically motivated.

Fuller retired Sept. 5 after a 29-year career with the Sheriff’s Office, prior to the internal investigation concluding.

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