MARSHALL, TX (KSLA) - Marshall Police Chief Jesus "Eddie" Campa says he is "shocked and appalled" by the suggestion that there was any preferential treatment in the hit-and-run investigation that resulted in the arrest of a local radio news personality on Tuesday.
The hit-and-run happened early Saturday morning. Although police were called to 33-year-old Ashli Acker-Dansby's home shortly after it happened, a warrant was not issued for her arrest until Monday.
"We couldn't establish that she was behind the wheel so we didn't have the probable cause to go any forward towards obtaining a blood drawn warrant," said Campa.
Outrage has since spread quickly through social media, accusing the Marshall Police Department of special treatment of Dansby.
"It does aggravate me it makes me very very upset, for people in the community to even think, that this department would take part in anything like that." Campa says he wants to address the rumors because he worries the talk could breakdown trust between the community and the department.
"We have been inundated with messages both on my professional page and my personal page," said Campa.
As a result of the sheer number of both messages and phone calls, Chief Campa felt the need to make a point to set the record straight.
"I can assure you 100 percent that is not the case and preferential treatment was not given to anybody," he said.
He says the delay Dansby's arrest was because police followed protocol to consult with the district attorney's office first.
"This is how we would have handled any other case, the only reason why its getting so much attention, because of who the driver of the vehicle was," he said.
Police say Dansby struck a woman in the street with her Toyota just after 1 a.m. Saturday on Caddo Street and Victory Drive.
The Marshall resident and KMHT radio show host and News Director turned herself in early Tuesday morning on a third-degree felony charge of failure to stop and render aid.
She was released on bond from the Harrison County Jail a few hours later.
Marshall Police Department released a statement on the case, saying:
According to Dansby's attorney, Rick Berry, his client "did not flee," but went immediately home after hitting what she thought might have been a pedestrian. There, her husband called 911.
"We were not afforded the opportunity to speak to her because we were advised by her attorney that we would not be allowed to speak to her," said Campa.
The attorney says Dansby's home is about half a mile from the scene of the collision.
"I think she was doing what a prudent woman would do, in the dark after being in an unfortunate situation. She called for help for that person and to have the authorities investigate," said Berry.
Berry said Dansby views her conduct as lawful and that she wasn't sure how a person ended up on her automobile's windshield. She believes the pedestrian might have been in the roadway, according to Berry.
Dansby's attorney Tuesday also claimed that "there were calls to the police department about a drunken woman in the roadway," and called on police to save those calls "because I think that's very important and very relevant to the circumstances surrounding this investigation."
"That is absolutely false," Campa said when asked about Berry's request. "We've gone back. I don't know where that came from. They might have been calling a different police department, a different Marshall Police Department in a different state, because from what we've looked at our tapes between the hours of 10 p.m. and the time of the accident calls, there's not one report of any intoxicated person inside of Marshall, much less in that area. So, that is absolutely, totally false."
The pedestrian has been identified as 79-year-old Evelyn Mallard of Marshall, Texas.