Elrod

Lori Consalvo, Staff Writer
Created: 07/21/2010 05:38:41 PM PDT

CHINO – The public comment session at Tuesday evening’s City Council meeting drew no mention from residents of Councilman Earl Elrod’s misdemeanor hit-and-run conviction in June.

But an Orange County developer who is in a fight with the city and a representative of Mothers Against Drunk Driving brought attention to Elrod’s case.

The councilman last month pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of an accident after a crash involving his car and a bicyclist.

California Highway Patrol officers sought a charge of driving while intoxicated against Elrod, but the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office refused.

On Tuesday evening, developer Andy Sehremelis told Elrod he should make a public apology. Sehremelis, embroiled in a fight with Chino over developer fees, is also the parent of a daughter who was struck by a drunken driver in 2005.

“I feel you owe your peers and your community an apology,” said Sehremelis, a resident of Rossmoor in Orange County. “You need to fess up.”

Virginia Gautier, executive director of the San Bernardino County chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, also spoke at Tuesday evening’s council meeting.

“All MADD is saying is if you’re going to drink, don’t drive,” Gautier said. “Please make sure you have a designated driver.”

Gautier said her brother was struck and killed by a drunken driver. Years later, a drunken driver hit her son who later died. She said the driver left the scene and went home.

“Yes, he did open the door and let the police in,” Gautier said.

On Feb. 14, Elrod and his wife drove home from a Chino restaurant when his car was hit by a bicyclist at C and 10th streets, according to Chino police. Officials said the bicyclist caused the collision by not obeying a stop sign.

Elrod drove away without identifying himself to the other parties involved in the crash – a violation of the state Vehicle Code – making it impossible for officers to test the councilman for alcohol or drugs at the scene.

California Highway Patrol officers later that night went to the Elrod home. The councilman refused to answer the door, despite the officers’ knocks and phone calls, authorities said.

Later interviews led officers to believe Elrod had been drinking alcohol that night, authorities said.

No DUI charge was filed because officers could not test the councilman for alcohol or drugs the night of the collision and Elrod was never physically taken into custody.

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