East Ridge police officer is suspect in hit-run

East Ridge police officer is suspect in hit-run

April 28th, 2012 by Kate Harrison Belz in News

East Ridge Officer Sean Merriman

Photo by Contributed Photo/Times Free Press.

An East Ridge police officer has been placed on leave after the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office listed him as a suspect in a hit-and-run.

Officer Sean Merriman was involved in a wreck early Friday morning in the 8100 block of Blue Spruce Drive in Middle Valley, sheriff's spokeswoman Janice Atkinson said.

Deputies arrived to find that a parked Chevrolet S10 pickup truck had been struck, Atkinson said. The suspect vehicle left the scene, but officers followed a fuel trail to a nearby address, where they found Merriman's 2004 Jeep Cherokee parked with heavy damage.

Atkinson said she did not believe any injuries resulted from the crash. The traffic investigation is ongoing, and Merriman has not been charged in the incident, she said.

East Ridge officials issued a vague release about the internal affairs investigation Friday afternoon, but repeatedly refused to provide details of the circumstances leading to the investigation surrounding Merriman.

Merriman could not be reached for comment Friday evening.

With the East Ridge department since 2007, Merriman has been placed on paid administrative leave until the department's criminal investigation unit completes its investigation, East Ridge police spokesman Officer Erik Hopkins said.