A day after reports of shenanigans by Charlotte County Deputies, Wink News dropped a bombshell that implicates Hendry County Sheriff Steve Whidden in a cover-up. It should be noted that no charges have been filed, and at this stage, the case has been referred to FDLE for an investigation regarding the Sheriff, he has not been charged with anything. Further, whether this incident rises to the level of inappropriate behavior or even criminal behavior is a question that has not been answered, and the mere fact there is an investigation does not determine anything. That said, there are some troubling inconsistencies in the case so far.
Sheriff Whidden insists there was no wrongdoing, and that he barely knows hit-and-run suspect Richard Carlton Smith, who is currently serving a Federal prison sentence. Smith admits having struck something, but says he thought it was a mailbox, not a person. The most troubling inconsistency is that Sheriff Whidden says that his office forwarded the case to the State Attorney’s office for review, which would demonstrate that there was no wrongdoing in his office. However, The SAO released a statement saying, “The Hendry County Sheriff’s Office did not send us anything,” and that they didn’t hear about the case until contacted by an attorney. They have forwarded the case to FDLE, and requested that another State Attorney’s Office be appointed to handle the case going forward. Reporter Dave Culbreth confronts the Sheriff with statements from his own deputy that contradict his explanation of the incident. It’s too early to render a verdict… but this looks bad. Defintely check out the full video from WINK. Wink credits Miami talk show host John Cardillo for breaking the story.