Mayor says city manager will take some time off and 'get.. some help.'

Independence City Manager Robert Heacock told The Examiner this morning that he “has an alcohol problem,” and intends to seek treatment.

The comments come after Heacock’s arrest Tuesday morning by Lee’s Summit police for driving while intoxicated.

“I do deeply regret that I have disappointed so many,” Heacock said. “I have hurt the people that I love and care about most, my family. And everyone in the city has a right to expect better.”

Heacock said the incident has made him realize that his life had gotten “off track,” and that he has a problem with alcohol. He says he will take time off work to seek counseling and treatment.

Deputy City Manager John Pinch will take charge of city affairs during Heacock’s absence, which is indefinite.

Independence Mayor Don Reimal said Heacock “had a gross miscalculation of judgment,” but the city was going to “stick with him” and “get him some help.”

“We’re going to monitor the situation,” Reimal said. “We’re looking for professional help for him. We’re going to work with him and see what happens.”

Heacock was charged with operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated after leaving a bar in downtown Lee’s Summit. He was released after posting a $300 bond.

A Lee’s Summit police officer stopped Heacock after he observed “suspicious circumstances,” according to a probable cause statement. 

The statement says that Heacock admitted to the officer that he had consumed at least “two or three beers, a shot of Southern Comfort and one shot of Jagermeister,” in the hours before he was arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated. 

According to a police report provided by the Lee’s Summit Police Department, Heacock told the officer during an interview after Heacock’s arrest that he did not feel under the influence of an alcoholic beverage at the time he left The Peanut bar in Lee’s Summit. Heacock told the arresting officer he had been at The Peanut, 219 S.E. Main St., from 8 p.m. Monday night to 12:30 a.m. Tuesday, according to the police report. When administered a Breathalyzer test, Heacock’s blood alcohol level registered at .09, slightly above Missouri’s legal limit of .08.

Heacock earlier in the evening attended a City Council study session, which ended around 7 p.m.

According to the arresting officer, during routine patrol, the officer observed a black Lincoln LS, with a female passenger, reverse from a parking lot adjacent to The Peanut about 1:30 a.m. The officer observed the vehicle as it traveled into an alley and parked in the west lot of the Colony Professional Center at 200 S.E. Douglas Road.

The officer watched as the driver – later identified as Heacock – exited the driver’s seat to remove frost from the vehicle’s windshield. According to the police report, at approximately 1:44 a.m. the officer returned to the alley and observed the black Lincoln LS still in Colony Center’s parking lot with its headlights off and the motor running.

Due to suspicious circumstances, the officer states in the report, he approached the Lincoln to investigate. The officer ordered Heacock to perform a series of field sobriety tests, which according to the report, Heacock failed. Based on the circumstances, the officer states in the report, Heacock was placed under arrest for driving while intoxicated. The report said Heacock’s driver’s license was confiscated, and revoked.

Heacock’s court date has been set for March 12 in Lee’s Summit.