CHILDERSBURG, Ala. (WIAT) – One Saturday night in June, Rick McClelland’s ride down Plant Road took a tragic turn.
McClelland, who was chief of the Childersburg Police Department at the time, was driving a city-owned Ford F-150 when he ran off the four-lane road, according to an accident report, striking a guardrail on one side of the highway and a ditch on the other side before traveling up an embankment and coming to a stop. McClelland was hospitalized for days after the crash with serious injuries but had returned home by June 28.
A newly obtained crash report suggests alcohol may have played some role in McClelland’s accident. The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency said in a statement that there is still an “ongoing investigation” into the crash but that it has handed the inquiry over to the state attorney general’s office, which refused to comment on this story.
According to the crash report obtained by CBS 42, McClelland was driving south on Plant Road in the Coosa Pines area just north of Childersburg minutes before 5 p.m. on Saturday, June 25. Around that time, McClelland ran off the road to the right and struck a guardrail, the report narrative stated. The report went on to claim that McClelland subsequently ran off the road to the left, struck a ditch, and traveled up an embankment.
“There was a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage inside the vehicle,” the report said. “Two beer cans were located near [the vehicle] and collected into evidence.”
At least one officer with ALEA reportedly responded to investigate the crash on-scene.
The report indicated that blood alcohol and drug tests were conducted on McClelland, although the document did not reveal the results.
On Aug. 16, nearly two months after the crash, the Childersburg City Council accepted McClelland’s letter of resignation from the department. The resignation went into effect on August 11. No reason for the resignation was provided by city officials.
On Tuesday, the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency confirmed an “ongoing investigation” into the crash, but said the inquiry had been turned over to the office of Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall. Marshall’s office, in turn, refused to comment on the case.
As of Tuesday, attempts to reach McClelland have been unsuccessful.