Deputy Fort Wayne Police chief investigated in ‘road rage’ incident
A road-rage incident involving a Fort Wayne deputy police chief has sparked an investigation by the Allen County Prosecutor’s office and a review by the department’s internal affairs division.
According to city and county police reports, Derrick Westfield was involved in a fight late Nov. 4 with a 17-year-old male in the 1500 block of Millennium Crossing following a traffic dispute near the roundabout at Union Chapel and Auburn roads. In a call to 911, homeowner and Parkview Hospital Police officer John Gonzales reported a man was outside fighting with his son. When confronted, Westfield reportedly stopped fighting and identified himself as a Fort Wayne Police officer.
At that point, however, the participants’ accounts disagree. Westfield told police he was driving with his fiancee when a gold Chrysler 300 came up behind him at high speed, flashing its lights. Westfield said he “brake checked” the car and allowed it to pass him on Auburn Road until it turned into the Falcon Creek addition in which Westfield also lives. As he was driving past the Millennium Cross home, Westfield stated, the juvenile and 18-year-old Adrian Lowe approached his car yelling, “Why did you cut me off?” Westfield said he extended his arm and told the aggressive Lowe to stay back, at which point the juvenile punched him in the face.
The juvenile told a different story, saying he was a passenger in Lowe’s car when Westfield’s GMC SUV cut them off, “almost causing an accident.” Lowe tailed Westfield for while and flashed his lights before passing. After Westfield stopped at the home, the juvenile asserted, he began pushing them. The juvenile stated he punched Westfield only after Westfield pushed Lowe, causing Westfield to shove him into Lowe’s car then onto the ground, breaking his glasses and putting him in a choke hold.
Lowe’s account supported the juvenile’s version, while Westfield’s fiancee, Tamecca Chapman, stated the two teens instigated the fight.
Because of the conflicting accounts, the incident was referred to the prosecutor’s office and is under investigation there. In addition to the criminal review, Assistant Chief Karl Niblick said FWPD Internal Affairs officers will review the incident to determine whether any policies, procedures, rules or regulations were violated. Witnesses could interviewed and the case referred to the Board of Safety if warranted.
Westfield joined the department in 1995 and has been deputy chief, Southeast Division since January 2014. He received letters of reprimand in 1996, 1999 and 2015 and was suspended in 2007 for “obedience to department policies and improper conduct.” Westfield also received letters of commendation in 2002 and 2005 and an award of excellence in 2002.