Mayor did not submit to test for substances after April crash despite officer’s query about handling it

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A Nov. 16 report from a local TV station has raised questions about the April 20 car accident involving Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard.

Brainard was driving a 2017 Ford Fusion hybrid, leased by the City of Carmel, when it crossed the center line and collided with a truck towing a trailer on 3rd Avenue SW in Carmel. No sobriety test was given at the scene, and the Carmel police officer involved reported there was no indication that drugs or alcohol were involved. Brainard said he was feeling sleepy at the time.

WRTV obtained audio recorded from a CPD officer wearing a wireless mic that shows the officer was under the assumption that Brainard would need to submit to a drug and alcohol test, which is standard policy for a city employee involved in an accident in a city vehicle.

“Mayor, how are you doing? You alright?” Lt. Adam Miller says on the video obtained by WRTV.

“I’m fine, thank you,” Brainard responds. “I don’t know, I may have slipped over. I was struggling to stay awake earlier. But I don’t think so. Maybe.”

“As far as the whole testing process and everything, do you just want to do that through HR?” Miller asks. “Or do you want us to help you with that? How do you want to handle that?”

“Oh, do I need to be tested?” Brainard asks. “Yeah, I do, don’t I?”

“Because it is a tow-away,” Miller says.

After Brainard left the scene, two unnamed officers were heard on the video’s audio talking about how they assumed the mayor would go get tested immediately.

“He’s walking back to City Hall to talk to (Director of Human Resources) Barb (Lamb) so he can go get his pee test,” the first officer says. “I know, he’s going to have to go get tested.”

No test occurred and instead the mayor went to give a speech at the Carmel Clay Historical Society.

Nancy Heck, director of Community Relations and Economic Development and spokesperson for the mayor, issued a statement Nov. 17 regarding the situation.

“Regardless of any policy, the decision on whether or not to administer a test for impairment is always at the discretion of the police officers at the scene of an accident,”  In this case, the officers chose not to do that. Regardless of what was said at the scene, the fact is the mayor was not required to take any test; and, about an hour later, he carried on with his duties by speaking at a historical society event.”


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