A Marco Island police officer was fired Friday following an investigation of an on-duty vehicle crash with a Marco resident.
Marco Island Police Chief Don Hunter terminated Officer Ed d’Allesandro after an investigation revealed d’Allesandro was driving a police vehicle 80 mph in a 35 mph zone without emergency lights or sirens in August prior to crashing his vehicle with another car, according to a department press release.
“We won’t tolerate that type of conduct,” Hunter said. “I certainly won’t.”
D’Alessandro, who was with the department for 10 years, was found to have shared responsibility for the crash with the other driver, Marco resident Patricia Stoye, according to Marco Police.
Both drivers were sent to the hospital after the crash. Stoye had to be taken by helicopter. Both have has since been released.
This was not d’Alessandro’s first on-duty vehicle mishap, the department reported. He struck another vehicle in 2007 and hit a utility pole wire in 2006. Both caused damage to city vehicles, the release said.
For the August crash, d’Alessandro was cited for careless driving as a result of investigations. Stoye was not cited for traffic violations.
Additionally, the department charged that d’Alessandro violated 10 agency guidelines including “unbecoming conduct” and “willful misuse of police authority.”
Hunter, who is new to the department, said he is still investigating whether this kind of driving is systemic in the department.
“My belief is that we don’t have a general problem with driving vehicles at high speeds, erratically and with no justification,” Hunter said.
Hunter, the former Collier County sheriff, became Marco Island’s police chief in August after former Chief Thom Carr retired in July.
“I’m trying to send a message to our agency officers,” he said of safe driving. “It is critical to me and something I place a high value on.”
D’Allesandro, who was making $68,621 annual salary, has 14 days to appeal the decision.