Officials: WV sheriff damaged car, lied to have county pay

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — A West Virginia sheriff was fined Thursday for hitting a car with a shopping cart then lying about what happened so his county would have to pay for repairs, officials said.
Brooke County Sheriff Larry C. Palmer has agreed to pay the state $5,000 and undergo ethics training after the 2018 incident, according to records released by the state ethics commission.
The ethics report said Palmer lost control of a shopping cart after buying personal items at an Ohio department store, causing it to smash into a parked car. He left without waiting for the damaged car’s driver and didn’t leave a note.
Local police, using surveillance video and witness statements, linked Palmer to the damage and contacted the sheriff’s office. Palmer told the officer he would take care of the situation and contacted the vehicle’s owner, who forwarded a nearly $2,000 bill to the sheriff, according to the ethics report.
Palmer then invoiced the Brooke County Commission to have them pay for the damage but was told to file a full report detailing the incident, officials said. He later submitted a letter claiming he was buying supplies for the department when he backed his police cruiser into the parked car, adding that he exchanged information with the owner of the damaged vehicle, the report said.
The sheriff finally agreed to pay the bill himself after a county commissioner questioned whether the damage was a proper county expense, according to the ethics records.
Palmer did not return a voicemail left at his office. His bio on the sheriff’s office website says he was formerly a corrections officer, a patrolman, a deputy sheriff, as well as the chief of another police department and the director of campus security at Bethany College.