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Travis Co. Sheriff's Office clears Lehmberg in hit-and-run investigation

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Travis County DA Rosemary Lehmberg has been cleared in a hit-and-run investigation after officials say they did not find evidence linking Lehmberg to the incident.

Travis County Sheriff's Office released the following statement regarding the hit and run that occurred the same night Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg was arrested for DWI:

"There is no evidence to suggest that Ms. Lehmberg or her vehicle are involved in this collision.

As of 061313, the statement requested from the victim, Mr. VanGorp, has not been provided. All attempts to obtain said statement have been unsuccessful and there will be no further requests.

I have personally examined Mr. VanGorp's vehicle and measured the damage height. The damage to Mr. VanGorp's vehicle is between 1.9 and 2.4 feet. I have also examined Ms. Lehmberg's vehicle and measured the height of the damage. The height of the damage to Ms. Lehmberg's vehicle is 1.4 to 1.75 feet. The damage areas of the two vehicles do not match. In addition, there is no paint transfer on either vehicle that would suggest they came in contact with each other. Ms. Lehmberg's remark to me on 05-11-13, where she claimed she scraped the rock wall in front of her home appears to be consistent with the damage present on her vehicle.

In Mr. VanGorp's 911 call and his initial hand written statement, he claimed to have been struck by a newer SUV with bright headlights. In his subsequent verbal comment to me in Killeen he claimed he was struck by a Lexus RX 300, RX 330 or RX 350 with bright bluish tinted headlights. In my phone conversation with Mr. VanGorp on 04-17-13, he said he saw similar headlights on a Lexus ES 350, but was not sure what type of vehicle hit him.

Ms. Lehmberg was driving a 2001 Lexus ES 300, 4 door sedan when she was arrested. I inspected the headlights on Ms. Lehmberg's vehicle and they are the standard white "old style" lights. They are not the type described by Mr. VanGorp.

Mr. VanGorp's claim that he was shown a substitute "Mitsubishi" passenger car instead of the vehicle Ms. Lehmberg was driving is not supported by the video of Ms. Lehmberg's arrest or by the original report submitted by Deputy McFall. In Deputy McFall's original report and in his supplement (#11) , he escorted Mr. VanGorp to the scene of the arrest and Mr. VanGorp stated the vehicle he was shown was not the vehicle that struck him. The patrol car video shows Mr. VanGorp arriving at the scene of Ms. Lehmberg's arrest and walking to the car. (The actual inspection of Ms. Lehmberg's car by Mr. VanGorp is out of the camera's field of view.) In addition, the vehicle on the impound sheet identified the car towed from the scene as Ms. Lehmberg's vehicle. I can find no evidence of the presence any other vehicle at the scene that Mr. VanGorp could have mistaken for the Mitsubishi he claims to have been shown. The original witness, Mr. Weston, was driving a Mitsubishi SUV. However, Mr. Weston was released and left the scene of the arrest before Mr. VanGorp arrived.

I have checked with Lexus dealers in Austin and San Antonio. Both dealers advised me Lexus does not do their own collision damage repair. They sub-contract the work to three shops, two in Austin and one in San Antonio. I have been in contact with these three body shops and I have unable to find a vehicle with damage that is consistent with what I observed on Mr. VanGorp's vehicle. I was also advised by the Lexus dealers they refer repairs to the three specific shops, but there is nothing keeping a Lexus owner from having a repair done elsewhere.

I have also done some research on the "headlight" question. These blue, bluish or bright headlights are available with many models as standard equipment including some Lexus models. These lights can also be special ordered from the dealer. They are also available after-market from any number of auto parts stores. The headlights seen on the suspect vehicle by Mr. VanGorp are by no means specific to Lexus.

There are no further leads in this case. This case will be suspended."

--Travis County Sheriff's Office
   Traffic Investigations



Travis County deputies are investigating a hit and run incident that happened at nearly the same time and place District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg was seen driving erratically the night of her DWI arrest.

Most of us associate Friday, April 12th as the night Lehmberg was booked into jail for drinking and driving. A group called So Long, Rose is reminding folks that prior to that incident was a hit and run.

The investigation remains open.

According to this incident report, at 10:40 April 12, two men traveling along FM 620, called 9-1-1 to report their vehicle was struck in a hit and run. Wednesday, Travis County released the 9-1-1 call.

Caller: "This car looked like it was coming in the middle lane, but he just kept coming and clipped the side of my car, clipped my tire, busted up my finder a little bit and kept driving."

Five minutes after the hit and run was reported, another driver called to report Rosemary Lehmberg's erratic driving. She was heading southbound approaching this home depot. Interestingly enough, we drove the same route. It took us five minutes to travel from the first scene.

The county says it's all a coincidence.

"So far into the investigation of leaving the scene we've not found any evidence whatsoever that she was involved in that incident," Deputy Roger Wade said.

It's easy to understand why all the confusion when watching dash camera video from Lehmberg's arrest. When deputies first made contact with Lehmberg they checked her Lexus sedan for damage. They found some.

Deputy: "It does have a skid mark in the left front corner."

A deputy on scene and one from the hit-and-run scene compare notes. One says the vehicle description who left the scene matches the description of [Lehmberg's] vehicle.

Even Lehmberg addressed the issue.

Lehmberg: "What is this thing about a collision? Because I have not had a collision."

Deputy: "I have a deputy up there checking things out right now."

Lehmberg: "Y'all need to check on that. I have not hit anybody." Deputy: "All I'm saying is there is paint transfer on the front of your vehicle."

The group So Long Rose, shows much of the same evidence on their website. But they add that the hit-and-run victim says on the 9-1-1 call that he was struck by a silver-colored Lexus with the same license plate number as Lehmberg.

Read the So Long Rose account here:

Those descriptions were never mentioned on the 9-1-1 call.

Dispatcher: "What kind of vehicle was it?"

Caller: "I don't know ma'am. It was dark. They just kept going."

Caller: "It was uh, maybe a mid-size SUV, newer model because it had the really bright headlights."

Deputies say the investigation will wrap by the end of this week. At that time, deputies will release the full police report. In that report, we are expected to see even more evidence that will clear Lehmberg.

Lehmberg is expected to return to work Thursday or Friday. She has been in treatment since she was released from jail after serving 22 days.

Link to 911 call:

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Austin, TX 78701

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