May 28—A former Klamath Falls Police detective will face federal charges accusing him of stealing the narcotics that allegedly caused him to overdose while behind the wheel of his patrol cruiser and cause a multi-vehicle crash.
Thomas Duane Reif, 27, entered not guilty pleas Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Medford on two charges of possessing a controlled substance by misrepresentation, fraud, forgery deception or subterfuge, according to a release from the U.S. Attorney's Office.
The charges accuse Reif of entering the police department's evidence room on Nov. 27 using "an unauthorized key," and removing methamphetamine and fentanyl from a piece of evidence from a drug investigation.
"Reif briefly left the evidence room before returning the evidence item to the evidence locker and leaving the facility," the release states.
At about 4 p.m. that afternoon, Reif crashed his unmarked 2013 Dodge Avenger police cruiser while on duty near the intersection of South Sixth Street and Crater Lake Parkway, according to an earlier news report stemming from an earlier Oregon State Police investigation.
The Dodge sedan jumped a median, drove into oncoming traffic and caused a multi-vehicle crash. First-responders found Reif not conscious and not breathing behind the wheel of the Dodge, but he was later stabilized at Sky Lakes Medical Center in Klamath Falls.
Inside Reif's personal locker at the police department, investigators found a concealed evidence bag containing methamphetamine, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
Reif resigned from the police department Dec. 1 while in the midst of an internal affairs investigation, according to a December Facebook post from Klamath Falls Police about the case.
Federal prosecutors say that Klamath Falls police has cooperated "throughout the investigation" involving the FBI and Oregon State Police.
A jury trial is currently scheduled for Aug. 3 in Reif's case. If convicted, he faces up to four years in federal prison and a fine of up to $250,000.
Reach reporter Nick Morgan at 541-776-4471 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @MTCrimeBeat.