Documents and expert opinion show there may be more to a single-vehicle wreck involving Mesa's police chief than he's ever disclosed. The dispatch log from the incident is missing nearly 40 pages and the official report includes no photographs, nor any record of any eyewitness account despite evidence of at least one witness coming forward.
Now some are asking whether information may have been deliberately omitted.
State Route 87 north of Payson in Happy Jack can be unforgiving. A two-lane road where the speed limit is 65 miles per hour twists and turns through the Mogollon Rim. That's where Mesa Police Chief Frank Milstead rolled his expensive sports car in the summer of 2011.
The 2007 Porsche Carrera 4S convertible he owned and was driving rolled at least twice, landing atop a pine tree. Very few details were known about the crash at the time, but there were suspicions within his own rank and file as to what may have caused him to veer off the roadway.
Crashing too many cars?
Some would cast doubt on the investigation and whether Milstead received special treatment. Others would question if he had been drinking before he came dangerously close to death. The police report about the incident includes the observation that "the driver was under no apparent influence."
The two agencies that responded and investigated raised further concerns for those who doubted Milstead's story. After all, it would be Chief Milstead who chastised his officers about crashing too many cars and not wearing their seatbelts in a video he made for the workforce late 2013.
Statistics provided to 12 News by the Mesa Police Department seem to validate what Chief Milstead admonished his officers for.
- In 2012 Mesa police officers were involved in 88 accidents; of those, they were found to be at fault in 38.
- In 2013, there were 111 accidents; they were to blame for 58.
- In 2014, 74 accidents, 32 in which they were at fault.
To put it into perspective, Detective Steve Berry provided 12 News with a spreadsheet that shows, for fiscal year 2014-2015, the Mesa Police Department put almost 6.5 million miles on its fleet.
Milstead wrecks his Porsche in Happy Jack
While the workforce was hearing its chief lecture them about crashing too many cars, many didn't know it at the time that Milstead had a wreck of his own. Records show Milstead rolled his Porsche on Aug. 19, 2011 around 3 p.m.
Retired Mesa Police Officer Javier Fabian Cota disagrees with the original police report's version of events. During his tenure with the department, Cota began looking into the crash on his own time while serving as president of the Mesa Police Association. Among other things, in 2012, he says he was looking into two cases in which two officers were possibly going to be terminated by the Mesa Police Department for being arrested for driving under the influence.