Ex-police chief charged with DWI for crash that led to resignation

Monroe County

Three other Greece police officers suspended as internal investigation underway

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Former Greece Police Chief Drew Forsythe is facing criminal charges in connection to an October crash that led to his resignation. Monroe County District Attorney Sandra Doorley announced Monday that Forsythe is charged with misdemeanor driving while intoxicated and leaving the scene of a property damage accident, a traffic violation.

The police chief was placed on administrative last month after he crashed his police-issued vehicle, which then prompted an investigation by the Monroe County District Attorney’s office, and later his resignation. Forsythe suffered a minor contusion and the vehicle was totaled. Greece Town Supervisor Bill Reilich announced Forsythe’s resignation while discussing the matter on a local radio program four days after the crash occurred.

Although the resignation was official two weeks ago, Reilich said that the district attorney’s investigation into the crash would continue, culminating in Monday’s announcement of criminal charges. “Forsythe will be prosecuted like anybody else without special treatment,” Doorley said Monday. “The case will move forward in the court of law.”

The district attorney said she doesn’t anticipate any further criminal charges, but recommended an internal investigation be conducted into the Greece Police Department by an outside expert. Doorley said retired Rochester Police Deputy Chief of Operations Joe Morabito will oversee the internal Greece police investigation. The district attorney also said the town of Greece should consider purchasing police-worn body cameras for all of its officers.

Greece police officials originally reported Forsythe allegedly swerved to avoid a deer and hit a guardrail on Route 390 at approximately 1:30 a.m. on October 21. Reilich said he didn’t learn about the crash until later Thursday morning.

“Mr. Forsythe did not stay at the crash, nor did he report the crash as soon as physically able,” Doorley said. “He continued to drive.” The image below is the route investigators believe Forsythe took that evening after crashing on 390:

Officers with Greece police arrived at the scene of the accident to investigate. Forsythe was not given any sort of sobriety test and was not checked for drunk driving, authorities said. They added that if there was any reason to suspect drunk driving, they would’ve proceeded further with a test.

Reilich said Monday that the three officers who responded to the scene of that crash—Deputy Chief Casey Voelkl, Lieutenant Andrew Potter, and Officer Evan Kalpin—were suspended. Reilich said that more suspensions may follow, pending an internal investigation.

“I am especially concerned since learning that former Chief Forsythe was not administered a breathalyzer or a field sobriety test that would have been routinely performed on civilians like you or I,” Relich said. “Simply put, I am outraged.”

Reilich said he wanted to make sure all Greece police officers will be told what to do if a chief or commanding officer is discovered to be “engaged in illegal acts or workplace misconduct.” He said, “My door is always open, and I’m disappointed no one was aware and stepped forward to contact me directly.”

Doorley said despite the fact no sobriety test was conducted, there is substantial evidence that indicates intoxication, including video footage of Forsythe consuming six alcoholic drinks before getting behind the wheel that evening, video evidence of him walking to his vehicle in a parking garage, audio recording of his voice after the crash, and the crash itself.

“On the evening of October 20, 2021, Mr. Forsythe attended the Signal 30 dinner to benefit families of fallen New York state police officers,” Doorley said. “At approximately 5:50 p.m. he arrived at the Hyatt Hotel in his town-owned Chevrolet Tahoe and parked in the South Avenue parking garage. At approximately 10:12 p.m. he entered the bar area of the Hyatt and remained inside that bar area until approximately 12:36 a.m. During that two hour and 15 minute period, he consumed approximately six alcoholic beverages. We don’t know what he drank from the time he arrived at the event leading up to 10:12 p.m.”

Greece police officials said Forsythe tried to drive to the police station after the crash, but couldn’t make it there due to damage to the vehicle. Doorley said that damage included only one working wheel attached to the vehicle, and sparks flying from behind it as Forsythe attempted to keep driving.

The district attorney also said that, based on her office’s investigation, it appeared that Forsythe was attempting to drive the damaged vehicle to his home rather than the police station. “This was not a routine police matter,” Reilich said on the radio program two weeks ago.

Reilich said the “breakdown of communication” was a contributing factor in him asking for the chief to step down. Forsythe is scheduled to be arraigned on December 9 before Greece Town Justice Brett Granville.

According to the district attorney, the former police chief must be held accountable, but she also added that he served his community admirably. “Mr. Forsythe had a wonderful career in law enforcement, and people can’t forget that,” Doorley said, “He made a mistake. He’s got to be held accountable for this mistake, but he was an excellent chief in Greece and he has served this community admirably. We can’t define him by this one mistake.”

Watch Reilich’s full briefing:

And Doorley’s:

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