Attorney General Tom Horne drove away after backing into another car in front of a colleague’s apartment, according to records from the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office and the Phoenix Police Department.
Two FBI agents were following Horne on the afternoon of March 27 as part of an investigation into alleged campaign finance violations and observed him back into a vehicle while driving with colleague Carmen Chenal in the passenger seat. An FBI report stated that Horne left the area without notifying the owner of the vehicle he hit. The county attorney’s office said it was a misdemeanor offense.
A Phoenix police spokesman said the accident occurred in front of 202 W. Roosevelt St., which campaign finance records list as Chenal’s address.
According to FBI records in the county attorney’s case file, the agents observed Horne and Chenal leave the Attorney General’s Office in separate vehicles. After they both drove separately to a parking garage at 10th Avenue and Washington Street, Chenal and Horne left the garage together in the car Chenal drove from the Attorney General’s Office. Horne was driving.
“Horne was now wearing a baseball hat and he drove to Carmen’s residence where Horne backed into a white Range Rover. Horne and Chenal then drove away, parked in a parking garage and both walked into (the) residential area where Chenal lived,” the May 7 report by MCAO Det. Mark Stribling said.
Amy Rezzonico, a spokeswoman for the Attorney General’s Office, said Horne hit the bumper of another parked car and drove away because he did not think there was any damage. She said Horne did not recall the incident, but speculated that he may have been visiting a restaurant in the area.
“The incident happened last March and he has no memory of the incident, however, there is a cafeteria at 10th Avenue and Washington and he might have decided to go to Pita Jungle instead,” Rezzonico said in an email. “They parked not in a residential area, which is on the higher floors, but on the first floor, which is a common area for Pita Jungle and Gold Spot shops.”
Chenal oversees foreign extraditions at the Attorney General’s Office. Prior to Horne’s election as attorney general in 2010, Chenal worked for Horne at the Arizona Department of Education.
Phoenix police spokesman Sgt. Trent Crump said the FBI turned over information regarding the accident on Oct. 1. The investigation is expected to take several weeks to complete, Crump said.
The hit-and-run accident was observed during an 11-month investigation by the FBI and Maricopa County Attorney’s Office into allegations that Horne illegally collaborated with an independent expenditure committee during his 2010 general election campaign.
County Attorney Bill Montgomery on Monday released the findings of his investigation, which he said confirm that Horne and Winn illegally collaborated. The two could face a civil penalty of more than $1.2 million.