Vancouver deputy chief caught driving and using cellphone

Vancouver’s deputy police chief was ticketed earlier this year for distracted driving after getting involved in a traffic accident while making a "work-related phone call," a police spokeswoman said this week.

Warren Lemcke was involved in the accident Jan. 4, but it wasn't made public until Wednesday, "in response to a number of inquiries," said Const. Jana McGuinness in a release late Wednesday.

“Lemcke was driving home around 5 p.m. southbound on Highway 99 just north of the 32nd Avenue exit,” McGuinness said. “Traffic came to an abrupt stop ahead of him at the same time as he was looking down making a work-related phone call.”

Lemcke rear-ended the vehicle in front of him, and later, “he was issued a violation ticket for driving without due care and attention,” the release said.

McGuinness said there were no injuries and the couple in the car ahead drove off once the incident was resolved.

The police vehicle Lemcke was driving sustained front-end damage in the collision and was towed, the release said.

McGuinness said Lemcke “accepts full responsibility for the collision, saying, ‘There's no excuse for a mistake like this and I urge other drivers to keep their attention fully focused on the road ahead.’”

Exemptions exist to the dialing-and-driving legislation for police, fire and ambulance personnel who may need to make calls in the performance of their duties.

Vancouver police stipulates that calls while driving should be of a priority and duty-related, and only made if other reasonable alternatives are not available, said McGuinness.