A 25-year-old NYPD officer who was arrested last month for leaving the scene of an accident and falsely reporting an incident admitted to making up a story about his car being stolen after he rammed into the back of another car on the Major Deegan Expressway in the Bronx, according to the NYPD Internal Affairs officer assigned to the case.
The officer, Luis Tejada, was first suspended from the department and has now resigned, the NYPD told the Bronx Times.
Tejada, who worked in the 33rd Precinct in northern Manhattan’s Washington Heights, was arrested around 5:40 a.m. on May 11 for leaving the scene of an accident and false reporting of an incident, according to the police department.
He initially received a desk appearance ticket from the NYPD and has now been arraigned and released on his own recognizance, according to the Bronx District Attorney’s office. His case was adjourned to August.
According to the May 24 criminal complaint, Tejada faces three misdemeanor charges, a felony and a violation from the incident, which also includes charges for falsifying business records.
The incident took place the night before Tejada was arrested at around 10:29 p.m. on May 10 between Exits 11 and 12 on the Major Deegan Expressway Southbound, according to Internal Affairs Bureau Sgt. Darrell Owens’ May 24 statement in the criminal complaint.
Adama Sawadogo was driving his 2015 black Toyota Camry when it was hit in the rear by a white 2019 Toyota Camry traveling at high speed, causing Sawadogo’s car to spin out of control, according to the complaint. Both cars were damaged, according to the complaint.
Sawadogo allegedly suffered substantial pain to his right shoulder, neck and lower back from the incident.
Tejada — as he allegedly admitted later — fled the scene, according to the complaint.
About an hour and a half later, at around 11:54 p.m., Tejada then called 911 claiming his car was stolen, according to the complaint.
About 20 minutes later, the then-police officer allegedly told NYPD officers at the 50th Precinct a made-up story that resulted in a complaint report listing Tejada as the victim of a grand larceny auto crime, according to the complaint.
The now-former officer allegedly claimed that he went to his sister’s house to bring her a massage chair, double-parked his car near a fire hydrant and left it running when he went upstairs.
He allegedly told the officers that when he returned, the car was stolen, which had his keys, cellphone, EZ Pass, subwoofer and massage chair in the trunk.
About two hours after he told his tale, at about 2:26 a.m., Tejada allegedly apologized to the department for wasting officers’ time.
He allegedly admitted that his car was not stolen, and that he was recklessly driving, got into an accident, panicked, and left the scene. He said he takes full responsibility, according to the complaint.
The Bronx Times has reached out to Tejada’s attorney, Lauriano Guzman Jr. for comment and is awaiting a response.
Tejada was appointed to the NYPD on July 2, 2018, according to his department profile.
Reach Aliya Schneider at firstname.lastname@example.org or (718) 260-4597. For more coverage, follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @bronxtimes