IMPD officer involved in accident has history of crashes

Officer Dinsmore was released on bond Wednesday.
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Sandra Chapman/13 Investigates

Indianapolis - Tuesday night, an IMPD officer was arrested and charged with driving under the influence. A short time earlier, a driver took video of a police car swerving down busy I-465.

13 Investigates uncovered a string of accidents involving Officer David Dinsmore that coincides with the time he says he was taking powerful pain killers.

Officer David Dinsmore's back problems weren't immediately evident as he walked out of the Adult Processing Center Wednesday afternoon. But after crashing his cruiser into this mailbox Tuesday night, and failing a series of walking field sobriety tests, he told investigators he had been taking "OxyContin pills for four to five years for severe back pain."

"It's very unfortunate. In this case I'm very glad no one was injured, other than the damage to the vehicle and the mailbox," said Lt. Jeff Duhamell, IMPD.

But this isn't the first time Dinsmore has run off the road or hit a mailbox in his police car. 13 Investigates traced his work history back over the same period of time Dinsmore says he's been taking narcotics and discovered a troubling history.

That history includes repeated damage to his cars and disciplinary action for crash-related incidents.

Starting in 2005, Dinsmore received a letter of caution for a preventable accident he was involved in. Exactly what happened isn't clear because reports were unavailable.

Dinsmore appears to have gone the next three years without a problem, until September 2008. According to a police report obtained by 13 Investigates, Dinsmore called in a hit and run to his cruiser parked outside his home on Newhall Drive.

2009 brought three more collisions and a suspension. In May, Dinsmore ran off the road and hit a mailbox on his own street in the middle of the afternoon. He told police he "looked a distraction in the vehicle." Then in July, just a block away from his home, he ran into the back of a car at a stop sign, saying "his foot slipped off of the brake pedal."

On November 1st, 2009, Dinsmore was slapped with a one-day suspension without pay for violating department rules and a general order for damaging a police vehicle. The specifics are still unknown.

Two weeks later, Dinsmore's cruiser was again banged up. This time he told his supervisors someone side-swiped his car sometime during his shift, leaving "a scratch approximately 30 inches long on the front right fender."

Now almost a year later, the eight-year veteran is facing charges of driving while impaired. Investigators say he tried to hide the bottle of narcotics by putting them down his pants. 

"If the medication you are taking impairs you enough that you have trouble driving, you shouldn't be operating a motor vehicle, whether you're a police officer, a citizen, anyone," said Lt. Duhamell.

The city's Department of Professional Standards is conducting an internal investigation. Dinsmore is now on administrative leave.