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Key Regents Weren’t Told About U. of Iowa Official’s Incident

IOWA CITY, Iowa ― Regents responsible for overseeing campus safety issues at the University of Iowa say they were never told about an incident in which the school’s public safety director is accused of interfering and lying during a hit-and-run investigation of his stepson.

Leaders of the Iowa Board of Regents’ subcommittee on campus safety and security said they learned about David Visin’s actions only through an Associated Press story published Monday.

The university said Visin disclosed the June 25 incident to his superior, senior vice president for finance and operations Rod Lehnertz, shortly after it occurred. But the information didn’t reach the subcommittee, which was formed weeks before the incident last June to review crime reports and topics such as sexual violence and harassment.

The committee’s charge is to review issues “as necessary with an emphasis on compliance and oversight.”

“We just learned of this situation today and do not know anything more than what is in the story,” said committee vice chair Rachael Johnson, a University of Northern Iowa student.

Johnson and committee chair Sherry Bates declined to comment further.
Investigative documents withheld from the public for months show that the June 25 incident happened after Visin left an Iowa City bar with his 33-year-old stepson, Sean Crane. Visin, 47, says they left separately and planned to meet at Crane’s home. Police say Crane smashed into two vehicles in the parking lot and was ejected from his truck. He then fled to his home, where Visin was waiting. They left in Visin’s truck for Visin’s home, passing a deputy who was sent to find Crane.

The deputy, Brad Kunkel, learned from Crane’s wife that he was with Visin. By phone, Kunkel directed Visin to pull over so that officers could speak with them. Police audio, obtained by the AP under the open records law, shows that Visin refused to stop, saying repeatedly he needed to get home to drop off a trailer he was pulling. He ultimately dropped Crane at a gas station and left before officers arrived. Kunkel found Crane walking on the side of a nearby highway, intoxicated and with an abrasion on his back that required emergency medical treatment. Crane was later charged with operating while intoxicated and drug possession after officers found marijuana in his abandoned truck.

In a recorded phone call, Kunkel told Visin that he believed he had “intentionally interfered” with the investigation and lied about why he wouldn’t stop.

On Monday, Visin said he is a diabetic and was suffering from low blood sugar levels. He said he was focused on getting home to eat and inject himself with insulin. He apologized for the incident, saying it was the result of hiding his disease from colleagues for fear of facing discrimination. He said he had not been drinking and was unaware of the hit-and-run until Kunkel called him.

Visin has served as UI’s public safety director and assistant vice president for 14 months on an interim basis. A spokeswoman said last week he was “performing well” in that role. Lehnertz is expected to decide soon how to fill the job.

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