Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Deputy's Gun Is Latest Twist in Ferrari Crash

The weapon of an O.C. reserve officer is found in a raid at the home of the car's alleged driver.

April 26, 2006|Richard Winton and Christine Hanley | Times Staff Writers

Detectives are trying to figure out why a handgun belonging to a reserve deputy for the Orange County Sheriff's Department was found at the Bel-Air mansion of the former European video game executive accused of crashing a rare Ferrari Enzo in Malibu in February.

Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies confiscated the gun during a raid at the home of Bo Stefan Eriksson, who faces grand theft, embezzlement and DUI charges related to the accident.

L.A. County Sheriff's Department spokesman Steve Whitmore confirmed Wednesday that the .357 magnum Smith & Wesson was registered to Roger A. Davis, a Newport Beach businessman and deputy with the Orange County sheriff's professional services division. Davis also serves on Orange County Sheriff Michael S. Carona's Advisory Committee.

Davis was issued a permit to carry a concealed weapon by the Orange County Sheriff's Department in August 2002 for self-protection, according to public records.

The disclosure adds yet another twist to the Ferrari crash saga.

But it also comes as Carona has come under criticism for his large expansion of the reserve deputy program, in which he has given badges -- and in some cases concealed-weapon permits -- to volunteers with no police training.

Last summer, a reserve deputy who is Carona's martial arts instructor was arrested and charged with flashing a badge and gun at a group of golfers who he thought were playing too slowly. That case is pending in court.

In another incident, a reserve deputy who owns an upscale Newport Beach restaurant resigned during an internal investigation into allegations that he flashed his badge during a parking dispute on the Fourth of July.

The professional services reserves are made up mostly of business executives who have no police powers but carry badges and sheriff's identification cards. They offer technical advice to the sheriff.

The group, which was created after Carona took office, includes many political donors and top business executives in Orange County. There are about 330 professional services reserve officers.

Davis did not return numerous calls seeking comment during the last week. A woman at his Newport Beach home declined to comment.

Whitmore said detectives were still trying to sort out Davis' connection to Eriksson.

But county records show that Davis is the owner of Roger Davis Estates, an upscale real estate agency that operates in the same Beverly Hills building as Gizmondo, the video game firm at which Eriksson once was an executive.

Sandi Gibbons, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County district attorney's office, said the gun was a key piece of evidence. Prosecutors have charged Eriksson with a weapons violation because, as a convicted felon, he is not allowed to possess a firearm.

"There is a dispute over how he got the gun. Eriksson is telling one story and the owner is telling another story," she said. But all that matters is [Eriksson] possessed the weapon."

Gibbons would not elaborate.

The Orange County Sheriff's Department declined to comment, citing an ongoing policy of not talking to The Times outside of arrests and other breaking news.

Prosecutors accused Eriksson of embezzlement and grand theft for allegedly bringing the Enzo and the rest of his $3.8-million car collection to the United States, even though he had only leased them from British financial institutions. The lease contract, authorities said, prohibited him from taking the vehicles out of England.

Eriksson has pleaded not guilty, and his attorney said last week that his client did nothing wrong.

Although no one was seriously injured in the crash, the investigation has generated significant attention because of the strange circumstances surrounding it and the fact that it destroyed one of only 400 Enzos ever built.

Authorities believe the car was going 162 mph when it smashed into a power pole. Eriksson told deputies he was deputy commissioner of the police department of a tiny transit agency in the San Gabriel Valley.

A few minutes after the crash, two men arrived, identified themselves as Homeland Security officers and spoke to Eriksson at length before leaving.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|