Principal accused of fleeing crash site

2 hurt in wreck; he's put on leave

Mount Garfield Middle School Principal Hal Templeton was placed on administrative leave this week after being cited in a hit-and-run accident on Sunday night.

Templeton, 42, of Grand Junction, received a summons for reckless driving and failing to remain at the scene of an accident involving injuries, according to the Grand Junction Police Department.

Templeton was driving at an estimated 80 mph in a Toyota Tacoma along Broadway, and using his cellphone, when he rear-ended a Toyota Camry, according to witnesses who spoke to police.

The 60-year-old driver and 24-year-old passenger in the Camry, both women, sustained “evident, non-incapacitating” neck and back injuries in the crash, according to police reports.

After the crash, Templeton allegedly pulled to the side of the road and then turned and sped off in the other direction. The Camry passenger was able to read his license plate as he was driving away.

Templeton reportedly told police he was having a bad day because his girlfriend had left him and that the accident was his fault. Drugs or alcohol were not suspected in the accident, according to police.

School District 51 spokeswoman Emily Shockley said Templeton was placed on administrative leave Monday, in accordance with district policy.

“We have to review (police documents) and do some of our own interviewing with him to see where we go from here,” Shockley said. “It’s pending an investigation, so we don’t have a timeline yet.”

Templeton was hired as the principal of Mount Garfield in 2014, where he was already an assistant principal.

Mark Vana, a former principal at Grand Mesa Middle School, is currently the acting principal at Mount Garfield.

Templeton is scheduled to appear at the Mesa County Justice Center on Nov. 7.

He did not return calls for comment on Wednesday night.


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