GREEN COVE SPRINGS – The State Attorney’s Office is proceeding with two misdemeanor charges against a former Clay County Sheriff’s Office Homicide Detective for creating a false report of the …
GREEN COVE SPRINGS – The State Attorney’s Office is proceeding with two misdemeanor charges against a former Clay County Sheriff’s Office Homicide Detective for creating a false report of the commission of a crime and leaving the scene of an accident involving attended property in connection with a New Year’s Eve hit-and-run in Keystone Heights.
Former Ten-year CCSO veteran Mark Alan Andrews, 42, was drinking at the American Legion Lodge in Keystone Heights on December 31, 2017 before he left and hit another vehicle on the road. According to the police report, the traffic crash occurred at 1:10 a.m. when Andrews, who was driving an unmarked police vehicle, abruptly pulled out into a traffic lane and struck the passenger side of a vehicle passing by. The driver of the vehicle Andrews struck, Eliza Taylor Chapple, of Valdosta, Georgia, immediately stopped her car and got out, but Andrews fled the scene. At the time, Chapple was unable to identify that the driver was Andrews. The crash took place on West Walker Drive near Wendy’s restaurant.
When Andrews fled, Chapple attempted to follow him but, she was unable to catch up and returned to the scene of the accident. About six hours later, a call for service came into the CCSO Communications unit. This call involved the report of an abandoned CCSO vehicle in Keystone Heights. When police got to Andrews’ house at 6357 Baker Rd. in Keystone Heights, there were numerous CCSO items thrown across a yard, including a taser, several loaded firearm magazines and more.
After the call, CCSO made contact with Andrews who reported that his police vehicle had been stolen and then abandoned a few doors down the street from his home. As a result, CCSO opened up a full investigation, during which, they determined that the damage done to the vehicle was consistent with the traffic crash reported by Chapple. It was then determined that Andrews’ vehicle was the vehicle that crashed into Chapple’s car.
During CCSO’s investigation, Andrews knowingly provided written and recorded sworn statements in which he said that his police vehicle was stolen. He also said that he was asleep at his home when his vehicle was stolen and had no knowledge of the traffic crash reported by Chapple. According to the police report, Andrews also said that he never left his home the night of the crash.
Further investigation concluded that Andrews had lied, as discovered by a number of reasons, including two witnesses who say they saw Andrews drinking at the American Legion Lodge shortly before the accident. Police also found that Andrews had used his CCSO-issued laptop shortly after the accident occurred.
Police also seized Andrews’ personal and CCSO-issued cell phone records, which showed he was not asleep, but made phone calls in the aftermath of the crash. Police said the cell phone records show Andrews was “in numerous areas of Keystone Heights prior to and after” the crash.
It was also determined that Andrews was the driver of the police vehicle that crashed into Chapple’s car. As a result, on May 16, 2018, an arrest warrant for Andrews was issued and the next day, on May 17, Andrews was arrested.
Andrews was bailed out of the Clay County Sheriff’s Office on an undisclosed bond amount. A little over a month later, on June 19, the State Attorney’s Office began proceedings to charge Andrews with two misdemeanors.
Although it is unclear when it occurred, Andrews resigned from the sheriff’s office earlier this year.