Elizabeth Larson of Lake County News reported yesterday that Lake County Sheriff Rod Mitchell confirmed that Russell Perdock — Mitchell’s once-upon-a-time right-hand man — was fired from the Sheriff’s Office late last month. No reason for the termination was given, and it appears Perdock has appealed the decision.
Readers will recall that Perdock was the man behind the wheel of a speeding powerboat that, on the night of April 29, 2006, slammed into the nearly motionless sailboat Beats Workin’ II on Clear Lake. Willows resident Lynn Thornton, 51, was mortally wounded in the accident, and died three days later.
Instead of placing Perdock on administrative leave immediately following the accident, Mitchell waited for three years to take the action — coincidentally coinciding with a backlash of public opinion during last August’s trial of Bismarck Dinius, the hapless sailor who happened to have his hand on the tiller of the sailboat at the time of the accident. Dinius — who had the total support of Thornton’s family and friends — was ultimately acquitted of all charges, but the cost of defending himself was astronomical. When we last spoke with him, he was in the process of filing a lawsuit against Lake County.
Meanwhile, both Mitchell and District Attorney Jon Hopkins, the man who insisted on trying Dinius instead of Perdock, are up for re-election on June 8. Perdock’s dismissal, while not unwelcome by many people — including a number of commenters on our Facebook page — came at a very critical time during the campaign. Another coincidence?