- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 2, 2016

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - Investigators disputed claims Wednesday by University of Iowa public safety director David Visin that they harassed his hospitalized stepson with questions about whether Visin was involved in a hit-and-run accident.

The Associated Press reported Monday that Visin is accused of lying and interfering with the investigation into the June 25 drunken driving accident by stepson Sean Crane. The case has raised questions about his ability to lead UI police and exposed tensions between Visin and other local law enforcement leaders whose agencies often work together.

Visin suggested Monday that officers were targeting him, telling the AP that they “badgered (Crane) when he was in his hospital room, repeatedly asking them about what I knew.” He said that Crane told them “the truth, that I knew nothing.”

But the Iowa City Police Department and the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office disputed that assertion. Police spokesman Sgt. Scott Gaarde confirmed an officer visited Crane at an emergency room, interviewing him about the accident. Crane was cooperative and admitted that he had been drinking and smoking marijuana beforehand, according to a police report.

Gaarde said there are no indications that Visin’s name came up, adding that Crane wasn’t interviewed about his relationship with his stepfather at all. Johnson County Sheriff Lonny Pulkrabek said no deputies visited Crane at the hospital.

Video of Crane’s arrest shows sheriff’s deputy Brad Kunkel asking Crane whether he was with Visin earlier that day. Asked by Kunkel how he got home from the accident scene, Crane said, “Happened to be a guy heading my way, officer.” Asked whether it was Visin, Crane declined to say, adding, “I apologize.”

Crane smashed his truck into two cars outside of a bar where Visin and Crane had spent the afternoon. Visin says they left in separate vehicles and he didn’t see the accident. He says he then met Crane at his home and they left in Visin’s truck. Visin says he hadn’t been drinking.

Kunkel later learned Crane was with Visin, whom he reached by phone and asked to pull over so officers could interview them about the accident. Instead of stopping, Visin dropped Crane at a gas station and left before officers arrived.

Kunkel found a shirtless Crane walking along a nearby highway with major abrasions on his back that required emergency medical treatment. Police said Crane was ejected from his truck during the accident.

Visin said his judgment was off because he’s diabetic, was suffering from low blood-sugar levels and was focused on getting home to eat and inject himself with insulin. He said he didn’t tell Kunkel that because he’d hidden his disease for years to avoid discrimination, claiming instead that he needed to drop off a trailer he was pulling at home because he’s not good at driving with it.

Kunkel accused Visin of lying and interfering with the investigation. Sheriff Pulkrabek said he asked whether charges could be filed against Visin but was told by the county attorney there wasn’t probable cause.

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

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