Explanations McHenry County Sheriff’s Department and shooting range injured Deputy Eric Woods have offered about his shooting and the extent of Wood’s injury are challenged in press release which arrived this morning. The release follows:
INJURIES CONTINUE TO NAG SHERIFF’S DEPUTY — AND HIS BOSSES
McHenry County Sheriff’s Deputy Eric Woods continued to experience health problems more than three months after his shooting accident at the Sheriff’s range, raising serious doubts about statements Sheriff’s officials made declaring the incident over and done with, the Mike Mahon for Sheriff campaign noted Wednesday.
A published report in late May quoted Dep. Woods as saying he was back to full functioning. But in all of June 2010, Dep. Woods did not have one single day of normal, routine duty.
Of the 30 calendar days that month, Woods’s payroll status was “injured on duty” (IOD) for 13 days and “light duty” for another five, according to a Sheriff’s Office FOIA response.
Local newspapers published two stories in late May in which Dep. Woods personally insisted that the injuries he suffered March 15 during a shooting accident at the range were not particularly serious and a few subsequent hospital and/or doctor visits had resolved them.
He also restated the official version of the incident, which was that fragments of “frangible” ammunition had struck him.
Frangible ammunition is designed to disintegrate into harmless powder on impact, preventing injury to participants during live fire exercises.
According to an account quoting Dep. Woods that was published in The Northwest Herald on May 29:
“Woods said he was functioning at the same level he was before the accident.”
That was clearly not true during the month of June.
In addition to the 18 days he was either IOD or light duty, Woods was off for seven days and carried on payroll records as either “travel” or “school” for another five.
“Even if the entire incident happened as the Sheriff’s Office maintains, Sheriff (Keith) Nygren at least owes the public some notice that Dep. Woods’s injuries were more severe than originally thought, or was conveyed to the press in May, and that there have been complications beyond those already noted,” Mahon said.
This is true particularly in view of how forthcoming with information Woods and Sheriff’s officials were to reporters of the Northwest Herald and the Arlington Heights Daily Herald in stories published May 29 and May 28, respectively, but nevertheless 2 ½ months after the accident.
Certainly Dep. Woods could not have spoken freely with reporters without permission from his superiors.
“Sheriff Nygren thought he had put this embarrassing incident to bed, but subsequent events don’t seem to be cooperating,” Mahon said.
“He should realize that the truth will come out eventually, one way or another.”
Mike Mahon has vowed to have the entire matter investigated by an outside agency if he is elected. He has also questioned why the Sheriff’s Office has not raised the issue of malfunctioning frangible ammunition with the manufacturer, if the incident happened as described in official reports.