Video footage of State Rep. Jeff Leach of Plano from the Collin County Sheriff’s Office has been released. The footage and report from local law enforcement show Leach driving on the wrong side of the road to get around a road hazard against the direction of law enforcement.
Lawyers for Collin County previously protested the release of the video after Texas Scorecard sent a Public Information Act request to the Office of Sheriff Jim Skinner to view the video.
The video in question shows an incident in September 2023. Leach drove on the wrong side of a two-lane road and then into a ditch to get around law enforcement vehicles as officers worked to clear the road of nails.
According to the sheriff’s office report, “several thousand nails” were covering both sides of the roadway. Officers stopped traffic and began sweeping the nails off the roadway.
During this time, a white pickup truck driven by Leach began driving eastbound in the westbound lane of traffic toward where the police car was stopped.
“The pickup truck passed approximately 4 trucks in this no passing zone,” according to the report. “During this time the driver in the lead truck was on the roadway helping me remove the nails. The white pickup drove past the lead vehicle and stopped when I acknowledged him by hold[ing] my arms out to insinuating [sic] what are you doing.”
The driver exited his vehicle and identified himself to me as State Representative Leach. He states that the roadway is back[ed] up with traffic. I advise him that I would rather the roadway be back[ed] up due to me sweeping nails off of it instead of it being backed up due to people having flat tires.
In the video, Leach is seen walking over to the right shoulder of the road and looking at the grassy ditch. He then gets back in his truck and drives it into the grassy ditch past the police car on the passenger side.
According to the police report, “He drove past my vehicle and then cut back onto the roadway and proceeded westbound on FM 546. Mr. Leach committed serval traffic violations at this time that I was not able to address due to me trying to get the roadway reopened.”
Leach was charged with three violations: passing to the left passing zone, disregarding an official traffic control device, and driving with an expired license.
On December 12, Collin County prosecutors granted deferred disposition to Leach on the first two charges, while dropping the expired license charge.
The incident was unknown to the public until earlier this month. After the revelation that video footage of the incident exists, Leach told an Austin-based political website that he was “eager” for the public to view the footage.
Following the incident, Leach met the two officers at a Starbucks in November. The two officers had arrived before Leach and bought drinks. When Leach arrived, he said he had intended to pay for the officers’ drinks. Leach then handed the officers a Starbucks gift card after getting his own drink.
The officers note in their report of the meeting that they accepted the gift card so as to not make a public scene but later turned it over to their supervisor.
In the video of the Starbucks meeting, Leach is heard asking the officers questions about their work, families, and recent incidents before apologizing for his actions earlier.
This has nothing to do, I want you to hear me here, with me running for office, with me running for re-election, with me being an elected official. This is just me—Jeff Leach as a citizen—feeling really bad about what happened that day and just wanting to make things right with you. And so I want to apologize to you. Looking back now, I realized that I didn’t handle the situation like I should have and created more of a problem for you. And that is the last thing I want to do. I don’t think there’s ever been a time in my life that I can remember where I have disrespected law enforcement like, even as a high schooler, I don’t even think. I want you to know I’m sorry.
Leach is then heard explaining his side of the story, where he said that he didn’t even know he’d been cited until a contact from the Collin County Sheriff’s office called him and asked him about the citations. He said he was caught off guard and couldn’t remember the incident at first.
He said when he drove up in the wrong lane and got out of his truck, “I didn’t mean to like throw my weight around. I thought that you would see my license plate that says state official, I just wanted to introduce myself to your state representative Jeff Leach. I represent that area. I was really trying to be helpful. And then I realized very quickly I can’t do a dang thing to help.”
“So then I had a decision to make about how the heck I get out because I realized I was creating more of a problem for you than not and so I decided, I looked around, and again I haven’t seen video, but my recollection is I looked around and decided the best way to do it was to go around the embankment you know kind of off the road. I’m really sorry. In my mind and in my heart at the time, I thought I was doing the right thing,” said Leach.
“So I broke the law, disrespected you—you felt disrespected at the time, and you may still feel like [that],” said Leach. “I hope you don’t, because I have the utmost respect for you. I’m gonna plead guilty and pay the ticket.”
Leach repsonded to the release of the footage on X.
As I knew would be the case, I am grateful that the video footage has resolved this matter, clearly evidencing my intent and attempt to act as a Good Samaritan and proving, once again, my utmost respect for our law enforcement officers and first responders. I appreciate their understanding of this situation as minor. And I am ready to put it behind us and to continue to focus and work on the real issues that matter most to my constituents and to all Texans.
The video of Leach’s Starbucks apology can be viewed here. It has been clipped at both the front and back to cut out the officer’s personal statements.