UPDATE: City employee suspended and banned from driving city veh - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UPDATE: City employee suspended and banned from driving city vehicles following hit and run

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

UPDATE: Valerie Radu, the Executive Director of the Family Justice Center has been suspended for 15 days without pay beginning September 21, 2015. 

Radu is also banned from driving any city vehicle.  Radu was involved in a hit-and-run earlier in September, where one person was injured.   She has 5 days to appeal this disciplinary action.


UPDATE: The city of Chattanooga is investigating one of its own after an apparent hit and run. The woman at the center of that probe is still on the clock, as an internal investigation continues.  
 
Valarie Radu, the Executive Director of the Family Justice Center, is accused of hitting a motorcycle and driving away, with a piece of the bike stuck in the city owned car she was driving.  

Channel 3 Eyewitness News is learning Radu shouldn't have been behind the wheel to begin with. We got a look at Valerie Radu's personnel file, Tuesday.  

Since being appointed by the mayor one year ago, she is accused of damaging two city-owned vehicles. Now city officials are trying to figure out why she was allowed behind the wheel after the first incident, which should have disqualified her from driving city property. 

According to police records, Valerie Radu struck a motorcyclist on North Market street Wednesday morning, then fled the scene. Traffic officers spotted her wrecked Ford Taurus in the Police Department's parking lot. It was easy to find because the motorcycle's handle bar was lodged in the passenger side door. Traffic officers pulled her out of a meeting for questioning.

"I can't say much at this time, we are doing a thorough investigation at this time and right now I can't say much else other than that," said Todd Dockery, Director of Human Resources. 

Human Resources Director Todd Dockery tells Channel 3 the investigation will include interviews with Radu, police, the man on the motorcycle and eyewitnesses. Police took Radu's statement Wednesday, noting the damage starting at the right fender of her car continuing down the side. Radu told police she felt a bump while driving and "thought it was strange." In the report officers stated they felt Radu was well aware that she had been involved in the crash and chose not to report it or render aid. Channel 3 visited the Family Justice Center Tuesday, Radu would not see us but had her secretary tell us she had no comment. It's business as usual, as the investigation continues. 
 
"From here we want to determine any disciplinary measures if any that might come out of this," said Todd Dockery. "We also want to determine what we could maybe do differently in the future... we want to be proactive and make sure this type of incident and accident doesn't occur."

This isn't the first time Radu has  been accused of damaging city property. City records show, she returned from an out of town trip with a damaged hood on her city-owned Volkswagen Passat back in March. The city paid $900 dollars to have it fixed. Dockery says employees are generally suspended from driving city owned cars until investigations into crashes and or property damage are complete. The incident from March is still under investigation.

"That's actually part of the investigation we're determining right now, we're trying to determine what all happened with that and what's going on with this most recent situation," said Dockery. 

Since 2007 Radu's driver's license has been suspended twice. She's been cited multiple times for things like speeding and crash damage. Dockery says driving background checks are only mandatory for city employees who have driving listed as a job requirement. The motorcyclist, who is okay, was cited for failure to yield. We'll keep you posted on the outcome of the city's investigation.


PREVIOUS STORY: The executive director of the Family Justice Center struck a motorcycle before leaving the scene and heading to the police department in a city owned Ford Taurus, according to a Chattanooga police crash report. 

The 20-year-old rider of the motorcycle told police that he was struck by an unknown vehicle Wednesday morning in the 100 block of North Market Street. The driver then fled the scene.

Officers later noticed a white Ford Taurus parked in the back lot of the police department with a motorcycle handle lodged into the passenger door.

Valerie Radu, 46, who was appointed by Mayor Andy Berke to head up the Family Justice Center in August 2014, was asked to leave a meeting she was attending at the department and instead speak to officers.

Radu reportedly told officers that she was driving on North Market Street and “felt a bump and thought that was strange,” according to the synopsis.

“Because of the location of the damage starting with the right front fender of her car continuing down the side of the car and based on my understanding of the physics and dynamics of a crash, I felt that she was well aware the she was involved in a crash and failed to report it or stop to render aid to the motorcyclist,” said Chattanooga Police Investigator Joe Warren in the report.

Jared Cullum, who was riding the motorcycle, told police that he was changing lanes from the right lane to the left lane and did not see the Taurus.

Cullum was cited for failing to yield the right of way.

An email from the mayor’s senior advisor shows that an investigation has been launched by human resources after this week’s crash.

City records show that Radu returned from an out of town trip in a city owned Passat with a damaged hood in March. The city had to pay about $900 to replace the hood of the car. Reports did not indicate how the vehicle was damaged.

In that case, emails show  Radu did not respond to emails asking what happened to the Passat when the city’s claims investigator pressed for answers. 

Radu has prior traffic offenses including failing to obey a traffic signal, speeding and following  improperly. She was also involved in a crash resulting in property damage. All of the traffic offenses date back as far as 2007. Her drivers license has been suspended twice.

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