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|Probe continues into Vidalia accident.|
Both the Vidalia Police Department and the District Attorney's Office are continuing an investigation into a July 22 accident in Vidalia.
Two Vidalia police officers were suspended following the incident when the Rev. Justin Conner, 40, local NAACP president, was charged with careless operation and no seat belt.
Vidalia Police Chief Arthur Lewis said the investigation was ongoing.
District Attorney Brad Burget said his office is assisting the Vidalia Police Department in the investigation and "once that's concluded we'll make a decision on prosecution."
A Vidalia police report indicated that the car Conner was driving struck the foundation of a house under construction by Adam and Shannon Probst in a new subdivision on Alabama Street at approximately 1:48 a.m.
Conner was not given a breathalyzer test at the scene, and reportedly told officers he had fallen asleep.
Lewis placed a sergeant who worked the incident and a supervisor have been placed on non-paid administrative leave while an investigation is ongoing.
"We're trying to get to the bottom of it and why they neglected to use a breathalyzer," Lewis said on July 25. "If they had, it would have protected all parties involved and we would have had the truth and that's what we are looking for."
Conner, in letter to Lewis dated Aug. 8 and forwarded to local newspapers, a Monroe television station, an attorney and the president of the Louisiana NAACP, questioned Lewis' motives for the suspension of the officers.
He said both officers properly performed their duties and suggested their suspensions were "an effort to force them to change their statements or file false reports of accusation for character assassination. I am told that forcing people to falsify a report is a crime."
He continued, "I am appalled and hate the fact that you have allowed yourself to become engulfed, and caught up in a effort to save your job being under pressure with a recall being filed July 14..."
Conner accused Lewis of running a "smear campaign."
Lewis said he had no comment on Conner's allegations.
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