Vehicle strikes Riverside City Hall
RIVERSIDE (GTNS) — A Riverside resident was arrested for operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated, which allegedly hit Riverside City Hall early Friday morning.
Washington County Sheriff Jerry Dunbar said the Washington County Communications Center had received a call at about 1:45 a.m. today reporting a vehicle had hit the city hall.
The caller had turned in the license plate number. A Washington County deputy located the vehicle at Larry Simon’s residence. Simon was arrested for operating a vehicle while intoxicated (OWI) and possession or carrying of a firearm under the influence. Deputies recovered a .380-caliber handgun from inside Simon’s truck.
“He had a permit, which in and of itself is not illegal, as long as you are not intoxicated,” Dunbar said.
Dunbar said he examined the damage and found a few bricks had been cracked on the northeast side of the city hall building.
He also said the retaining wall had been pushed over. Pieces of Simon’s vehicle were also found at the scene, Dunbar said.
The investigation is ongoing and further charges may be filed, Dunbar said. Deputies said there was no indication that the incident at city hall was intentional. Simon will have his initial appearance in Washington County court today.
Just recently Simon became president of the Riverside Visioning Committee, as reported in the March 19 edition of The Washington Evening Journal.
City of Riverside Mayor Bill Poch hadn’t heard about what had happened until The Journal contacted him today. Poch doesn’t think Simon’s arrest will affect his work with the committee.
“This is totally surprising,” Poch said. “Larry has a good relationship with some of the city council members and the staff at city hall.”
Simon attends many city council meetings and was one of the main residents in Riverside to ask the State of Iowa Auditor’s office to come in and review records at city hall, Poch said.
“Larry is not a dummy,” Poch said. “He rocks the vote sometimes and some of the points he brings up are good points.”
Riverside City Administrator Rusty Rogerson found about Simon’s arrest from the sheriff’s report.
“I was here until about 9 p.m. working,” Rogerson said. “No one was here when it had happened.”
Dunbar confirmed that the sheriff’s office has received reports in the past from people associated with city hall, mostly council members, regarding Simon. Also, there was a discussion about adding additional security measures such as ‘panic buttons’ at city hall as a result of Simon.
The Journal edition of May 8, 2012, reported that the Riverside City Council voted to approve the installation of panic buttons at city hall. This was in response to a phone call Simon made to city hall in April 2012 allegedly threatening then City Clerk Missy Carter.
Simon disputed the claims that he had threatened Carter. The dispute was over information Simon requested from the 2011 city audit. Simon wanted to see an itemized breakdown of the hours that Ann M. Menke, CPA, had spent on the audit that would justify the amount charged to the city of $26,500, as reported by The Journal.