At the behest of Alexandrias commonwealths attorney, a special prosecutor has taken over the trial of Det. Eric Ratliff, arrested earlier this month on drunk driving charges.
Jennifer Clarke, of Arlingtons commonwealth attorneys office, will prosecute the case against Ratliff, a 30-year veteran of Alexandrias police department, to guard against conflict of interest.
We just didnt feel like it was appropriate to handle, said Randy Sengel, Alexandrias commonwealths attorney. Weve known him for a while and thought itd be better to get a special prosecutor.
Sengels staff had worked with Ratliff in the past, he said, declining to comment further on the case.
Ratliff is accused of crashing his city-owned undercover car into a concrete pole at the corner of Gibbon and South Patrick Streets while under the influence of alcohol January 8.
He was off-duty at the time, police said, and was treated for minor injuries at Inova Fairfax Hospital. Ratliff also faces an unreasonable refusal charge for allegedly rejecting a breathalyzer test.
Sgt. Gregg Ladislaw was the arresting officer, according to court documents.
Ratliff has been placed on paid administrative leave pending an internal investigation, authorities said.
Ratliffs trial begins March 30.