The police chief for the village of Ontario in Vernon County was accused of misconduct Friday after authorities say he advised his officer to lie about the cause of a crash near Cashton.

Ontario Police Department Officer Grover Wooten was on his way home from working at La Crosse’s Oktoberfest at about 4:30 a.m. Sept. 28 when he drove off the road and hit a no-parking sign near the intersection of Hwy. 33 and Johnson Street, according to the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office.

Wooten first told police he had swerved to miss a dog, before admitting that he had fallen asleep.

Ontario Police Chief David Rynes


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Rather than immediately reporting the crash to Monroe County authorities, Wooten continued to the Ontario Police Department and called Ontario Chief David Rynes, according to the sheriff’s department.

After a Monroe County deputy noted that the marks on the road indicated Wooten didn’t swerve and requested his squad video, Wooten admitted he had lied and said Rynes told him to say he had swerved to miss a dog.

Rynes confirmed Wooten’s story with the deputy during the investigation.

The sheriff’s office referred charges of obstructing an officer for both Rynes and Wooten and a charge of misconduct in public office against Rynes.

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Jourdan Vian is a reporter and columnist covering crime and courts for the La Crosse Tribune. You can contact her at 608-791-8218 or jvian@lacrossetribune.com.

(1) comment


How stupid do you have to be to risk your career and erode public trust over a simple traffic accident?

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