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DWI, leaving a crash, assault: 2 St. Louis police officers charged in separate incidents

DOWNTOWN – A St. Louis police officer has been charged with driving drunk, fleeing an accident scene and then lying in an attempt to blame the victim for the whole thing.  Meanwhile a second member of the department will face a judge for slapping someone in the face.  Both incidents happened last winter.

Joseph Ermler, 25, was off duty when it all happened on Jan. 3, but the charges didn’t come until June 10.

Court documents say the crash happened near the intersection of South Kingshighway and Vandeventer Avenue.  The other person involved in the crash was injured.  Prosecutors say that at this point Ermler simply left, without leaving his name or insurance information.

After that, he is accused of calling police dispatch and saying the victim was the one guilty of a hit and run, apparently attempting to shift the blame to the person he allegedly crashed into.  Court documents say he was attempting to “manage and/or minimize the incident.”

Ermler was eventually forced to take a blood test, and documents say his blood alcohol level was .117.  That’s more than twice the legal limit.

Filing the false report and DWI are both Class B misdemeanors, but leaving the scene of the accident is a Class E felony.

The second incident happened about two weeks later.  Details are sketchy, but charges say Patrick Welch, 39, slapped someone in the face.  He’s been charged with fourth-degree assault, a misdemeanor, for the alleged action.

It happened on Jan. 18 on 16th Street near Clark Avenue. That’s not far from the Enterprise Center. There are no further details listed in court paperwork, and it is unclear whether Welch was on or off duty at the time.

A LinkedIn profile lists a Patrick Welch as a detective with the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department.

George Sells

george.sells@metrostlcom.wpcomstaging.com George Sells is an Emmy Award-winning journalist with more than 25 years of experience in news. He has spent the last decade on the St. Louis media scene, working for KTVI Fox 2, HEC Media, and more recently as a host for KMOX Radio. His wife of twenty years, Julie, was born and raised in St. Louis. They have two kids and a dog.

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