Placer County CEO admits he was driver of Rocklin crash


Anthony Williams and Todd Leopold are seen in undated photos. Williams, a student at Inderkum High School, died March 19, 2022 after being struck by a vehicle in Rocklin. An advocacy group says Leopold, the CEO of Placer County, was behind the incident.

Inderkum High School; Placer County

Placer County CEO Todd Leopold publicly admitted on Friday that he was driving the vehicle that fatally hit Anthony Williams, an 18-year-old Inderkum High School student who was walking down a Rocklin street nearly two months ago. .

Leopold and Placer County officials had declined to address claims by a community advocacy group that identified him as the driver of the March 19 vehicle-pedestrian collision.

His public admission, released in a written statement Friday afternoon, comes two days after the Rocklin Police Department announced it had completed its investigation and determined the driver of the collision was not at fault.

“With deep sadness, I can now publicly acknowledge that I was the driver of the vehicle involved in the crash that resulted in the death of Anthony Williams on March 19, 2022,” Leopold said. “My words and emotions cannot adequately express my deep grief and sadness. I am heartbroken at the loss of this young man and offer my sincere condolences to family, friends and all who have affected by this tragic accident.

Williams, a senior player and basketball player at Inderkum High, was struck by the vehicle around 8:30 p.m. on March 19 in the 6600 block of Lonetree Boulevard near the downtown Blue Oaks shopping district.

Rocklin Police Officers said the teenager, later identified as Williams, was “walking on the pavement” when he was hit by the vehicle and later died in a hospital. Police also said the driver involved in the fatal crash was cooperating with the investigation. The police department has not released further details about the collision.

Since the March 19 incident, The Sacramento Bee has made several attempts to obtain a copy of the police report on the collision. Police declined to release the driver’s name.

The department announced Wednesday that the police report was complete. Since police investigators were not looking for criminal charges, Rocklin police said only people connected to the incident could obtain a copy of the accident report under the vehicle code, preventing members of the public to ask.

“Now that the Rocklin Police Department has completed the investigation, I acknowledge the great suffering of family, friends and all those affected by Mr. Williams’ accident. My thoughts and prayers are with them. said Leopold in his statement.

Days after Williams’ death, The Bee also approached the Placer County CEO’s office and asked Leopold to speak about the incident in which he was allegedly driving. A county spokeswoman said she could not confirm or deny the allegations against Leopold and referred matters to the police department.

“Many people have wondered why I did not provide an official response to media requests for the driver’s identification,” Leopold said in his statement. “Unfortunately, I was unable to comment on the ongoing investigation and I certainly did not want to be perceived in any way as trying to influence the outcome of the Rocklin Police Department’s investigation. at all times, I balance my respect for the investigative process while ensuring transparency to you, our valued staff, as well as our valued audience.

The Placer County Board of Supervisors responded Tuesday to the allegation that Leopold was involved in the crash with a written statement that did not name him. The accident was not discussed at Tuesday’s board meeting. The supervisory board released another written statement on the fatal collision on Thursday.

“Although the Town of Rocklin’s investigation has been completed and released, Placer County has not reviewed a copy of the investigation report and therefore cannot comment further at this time,” the council statement said. “The Placer County Board of Supervisors once again sends its sincere condolences to the family, friends of Anthony Williams and all others affected by this tragic accident.”

This story was originally published May 13, 2022 3:34 p.m.

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Rosalio Ahumada writes breaking news stories related to crime and public safety for The Sacramento Bee. He is fluent in Spanish and has worked as a journalist in the Central Valley since 2004.