I-Team: Former Police chief’s daughter’s crash raises questions

Local News

HENDERSON, Nev. (KLAS) — Two days after the I-Team put in a formal request for information with the city of Henderson, the police chief lost her job. The city is not revealing the reasons that LaTesha Watson was fired and Watson seems to have become radio silent.

But the I-Team kept digging.

Watson is no longer the chief of the Henderson Police Department. There were several internal investigations during her short time on the job and earlier this month, she was fired. While what directly led to Watson’s firing is still unclear, complaints about the former chief are still coming to light.

The I-Team received a tip about a fender bender involving the former chief’s daughter. Questions are being raised about how the incident was handled. So, the I-Team filed a public records requests and obtained body camera video.

Porsche Driver: “A guy gave me his business card and said somebody hit your car and she’s trying to run.”

The driver of a Porsche was met with a surprise after he left Vons in Anthem last September.

The Henderson Police officer then walks over to person driving the other vehicle who had moved to another area of the parking lot.

She claims she didn’t know she hit the Porsche and tells the officer about her connection to Henderson Police Department within the first minute.

Daughter: “My mom’s a police officer. I would have called.”
Officer: “Ok. For us? Or?”
Daughter: “Henderson.”
Officer: “Who’s your mom?”
Daughter: “The chief.”

The I-Team blurred the face of former Chief LaTesha Watson’s daughter due to her age and the circumstances.

Daughter: “He came over and screamed at me and I was like, sir, if I knew I hit your car, I wouldn’t have just left.”
Officer: “Okay.”
Daughter: “That’s not me at all. My mom didn’t teach me how to be like that. So, he tells me to ‘get out.’ So, I look at the car and I said, sir, I did not know that at all, and I told him my music was up. I’ve never done this. I’m a new driver.”
Officer: “Yeah, definitely.” 

It’s his word against hers.

Porsche Driver: “It seemed like she tried to hide it.
Officer: “No.”
Porsche Driver: “Til she got caught.”
Officer: “She didn’t see, she said that she didn’t hear, she said once when she realized it did happen…”
Porsche Driver: “But she pulled in here and then backed up and then she parked over there.”
Officer: “Yeah, she said because that was like a tight space she didn’t want, she said she was going to try again but there was a lot of people around.”
Porsche Driver: “Does that look like a scratch to you or does that look like a major accident?”

The Porsche and the Ford were damaged.

Porsche Driver: “Now she’s playing all silly like her music was playing too loud and she didn’t know what was going on.”
Daughter: “And then he got mad. I said sir, I took his hand, I said I want to apologize. I didn’t know.”
Officer:  “OK, cool.”

Then, a sergeant arrives.

Sgt.: “She already let her mom know?”
Officer: “Yeah. She already let her mom know.”
Sgt: “Hi, you look just like your mom. How ya doing? Hey, I’m Tony.”
Daughter: “Hi, I’m (name removed due to her age) Nice to meet ya.”

She provides the sergeant the same explanation. 

Sgt: “Our biggest thing is to make sure you’re okay and that he’s not going to fight you.”
Porsche Driver: “This is the guy who witnessed it just for the record. He, he’s the one that drove by and saw me and said that girl crashed into your car, backed out, went around and parked over there. She’s trying to hide. This is the guy who witnessed it just before I came out. Whatever that’s worth, if you want to…”
Sgt.: “You know what?  We’ll log it in the call if we need to contact him later.”
Man: “OK.” 
Sgt.: “We’ll just put his information in the call for service.”

The I-Team reached out to the witness who gave the driver his business card. He declined an on-camera interview but told the I-Team  — in his opinion — there is no way the other driver didn’t know she hit the Porsche.

The I-Team was not able to contact the driver of the Porsche because Henderson Police redacted his name from the records requested. However, the body camera video shows that he did not understand why the accident wasn’t treated as a hit-and-run. The call was logged with little information and like any minor fender bender, the drivers’ information was exchanged.

Porsche Driver: “But I would clearly say that the car was parked and she crashed into it and then hit and then left the scene. Right? She moved from where she was. I don’t know if that’s illegal or not but that’s suspicious at a minimum.”
Sgt.: “For your insurance company, it’s not gonna change anything.”

The I-Team reached out to the former chief for this report but she and her attorney did not want to comment. It is not known if this had anything to do with Watson’s firing or if Watson had any direct communication with these officers during their response to the incident.

The I-Team also asked Henderson Police Department why this wasn’t treated as a hit-and-run and a lieutenant emailed back saying the resolution is consistent with our policy and procedure.

According to Nevada state law, a driver who is involved in a crash which causes damage to an unattended vehicle should immediately stop and locate the owner of the vehicle and not doing so, is a misdemeanor crime.

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