Placer CEO Todd Leopold put on paid administrative leave, 2 months after crash killed teen

·3 min read
Paul Kitagaki Jr./

Placer County CEO Todd Leopold, who was driving a vehicle that fatally struck a teenager in Rocklin two months ago, has been placed on paid administrative leave.

The Placer County Board of Supervisors placed Leopold on paid administrative leave on Friday, but county spokesman Chris Gray-Garcia declined to say the reason behind the board’s decision.

“Jane Christenson will serve as Acting County Executive during Mr. Leopold’s administrative leave,” Gray-Garcia wrote in an email to The Sacramento Bee Friday afternoon. “As this is a confidential personnel matter the county will not comment further.”

Attempts by The Sacramento Bee to reach Leopold on Friday were not successful. Leopold has been the focus of public scrutiny after waiting weeks before acknowledging he was driving the vehicle on the night of March 19 that struck Anthony Williams, an 18-year-old who had attended Inderkum High School.

Leopold’s public admission in a written statement came two days after the Rocklin Police Department announced it had completed its investigation into the collision. The agency said officers determined the motorist, whom they did not identify, was not at fault. The Police Department has said it would only release a report on the completed investigation to Williams’ family and those involved in the incident.

The Placer County District Attorney’s Office then announced it was reviewing the findings of the police investigation and would independently decide if any criminal charges were necessary. It’s unclear when the District Attorney’s Office will release its findings.

Before Leopold became the Placer County CEO in January 2018, he worked as the county manager in Adams County, Colorado. He was working there in June 2015 when Leopold was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving in Breckenridge, Colorado, and briefly jailed.

An officer pulled over Leopold’s gray 2010 Jaguar on June 1, 2015, after clocking the vehicle at 36 mph in a 25 mph zone, according to a police report. The DUI charge was changed to “driving while ability impaired” — his blood-alcohol level results were .052. As part of a deal that October, Leopold pleaded guilty to speeding and the alcohol charge was dropped. He paid about $400 in fines and fees.

The Colorado speeding ticket was among at least four that Leopold has received over the years, including a Placer County ticket for going 89 mph on Interstate 80 in a 65 mph. Leopold paid a $366 fine for the speeding violation, according to records The Bee reviewed through a series of public records requests.

Williams, who had played basketball at Inderkum High, was struck by the vehicle about 8:30 p.m. in the 6600 block of Lonetree Boulevard near the Blue Oaks Town Center shopping area.

An autopsy determined Williams died from “blunt force head trauma” and “brainstem injuries” after he was struck by the vehicle while walking on the street.

Police officials have declined basic factors in the matter: the speed of the vehicle, where exactly Williams was when he was hit by the vehicle and other circumstances that led to the collision.

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