Town of Tonawanda police officer resigns, pleads guilty after claiming his wife caused crash

Tonawanda

TOWN OF TONAWANDA, N.Y. (WIVB) — In order to avoid jail time, a Town of Tonawanda police officer has resigned and pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of falsifying business records.

In January 2019, off-duty officer Howard Scholl was involved in a crash at Englewood and St. Johns avenues, where he initially claimed that his wife was behind the wheel. This turned out not to be the case.

Erie County District Attorney John Flynn says Scholl went through a stop sign, causing a collision with an Uber driver. At the time, his wife was in the passenger seat.

After it was initially reported that she was the one driving, the driver of the other vehicle disputed this claim, saying it was actually Scholl.

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Originally, Scholl had been indicted on a felony charge, but he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor. Flynn explained why on Thursday morning.

He says that if Scholl had pleaded guilty to a felony, it would have been meant that he falsified business records in order to cover something up. But the District Attorney’s office was unable to prove that latter part. “That covering something up was that he was driving intoxicated, and quite frankly I did not have a slam dunk case when it came to that prong of the charge,” according to Flynn.

Officers at the scene didn’t take any breathalizer tests, according to Flynn. “I am disappointed in their conduct. I thoroughly reviewed their conduct and came to the conclusion that that I could not prove anything beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law that they committed any offenses.”

As part of the plea, Howard Scholl resigned from the police force, will serve 100 hours of community service and submit to an alcohol and substance abuse evaluation and all charges against Aimee Scholl will be dropped in 6 months on good behavior.

“The dismissal and the ACD recognize that she is not guilty of any wrongdoing,” said James Grable Jr., the attorney representing Aimee Scholl. “She didn’t commit any crime. The evidence supported that conclusion and that’s why this disposition makes sense.”

“They made a mistake,” said Barry Covert, the attorney who represented Howard Scholl. “He’s taken responsibility for the mistake and he is a decorated police officer, former veteran in the marine Corps, so he has acknowledged this mistake and it’s time to move on.”

Although both Scholl and his wife, Aimee, had been charged in relation to this incident, his wife received an adjournment in contemplation of dismissal since Scholl took responsibility for what happened.

In addition to staying out of jail, Flynn says Scholl’s administrative action against the Town of Tonawanda will stop, too. Earlier this year, it was announced that Scholl would receive $220,000 in back pay, and he’ll get to keep that.

MORE | Suspended Town of Tonawanda police officer to receive around $220K in back pay

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Evan Anstey is an Associated Press Award and Emmy-nominated digital producer who has been part of the News 4 team since 2015. See more of his work here and follow him on Twitter.

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