By Associated Press - Wednesday, January 13, 2021

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) - A Kansas sheriff’s office investigator has been charged in a hit-and-run crash and two other law enforcement officers have been charged with interfering with the investigation.

Wyandotte County Prosecutor Mark Dupree announced Wednesday that sheriff’s office Det. Michael Simmons Jr. is charged with a misdemeanor count of leaving the scene of the Dec. 13, 2019, crash on Interstate 70 in which he allegedly was driving a county-owned vehicle. The other vehicle was damaged in the collision.

Two others - former Kansas City, Kansas, police detective Sarah Panjada and Wyandotte Sheriff’s Office Maj. Andrew Carver - were charged with one count each of official misconduct and interference, both misdemeanors.

“I think it is important for the community to know that law enforcement’s job is to protect and to serve and the vast majority of law enforcement takes that seriously but for those who dare to stain the trust of the community with such acts, it will not be tolerated,” Dupree said, noting that a community integrity unit is up and running.

Dupree also announced that a fourth law enforcement officer, former Kansas City, Kansas, police officer Travis Toms, was charged with one count of buying sexual relations in an unrelated November 2020 incident.

Kansas City, Kansas, police said in a news release that Panjada left the department in February 2020 to pursue other opportunities and that Toms was placed on administrative leave in December 2020 following an internal investigation.

Phone messages seeking comment about Carver and Simmons’ employment status with the sheriff’s office weren’t immediately returned.

Dupree said all four would have court dates in February. A spokesman for the sheriff’s office didn’t immediately return phone messages about whether they have attorneys.

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