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Police Examining Phone Records Sent from Nick Ibarra to Mayor, City Manager and Assistant City Clerk Following Thanksgiving Day Road Rage Incident

Seach warrants show police asked for phone call and text records between a former city council member and city leaders

January 10, 2012|Emily Rittman, Ben Knaup | Reporter, Photographer

Springfield, Mo —

Springfield police are analyzing cell phone communications between a former city councilman under investigation for a road rage incident and other city leaders. Police requested cell phone records from the mayor, city manager and assistant city clerk. Recently unsealed search warrant documents show each city official voluntarily allowed police to go through their phone records. They are also examining the cell phone records of former city council member Nick Ibarra who was involved in a road rage incident.

The investigation started in the 700 block of south Hazelnut on Thanksgiving day. “When we noticed that he had the open container that's when he freaked out,” Brian Patterson told KSPR News on Thanksgiving. Patterson and another man, Tom Russell, say Ibarra was drinking and driving. “‘I said you need to stay here because you've been drinking’ and he didn't want any part of that and hauled off down the street, dragging me,” Patterson said.

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Two separate search warrants show Ibarra contacted Springfield Assistant City Clerk Anita Cotter on Thanksgiving. According to the search warrant, Cotter told police Ibarra sent a text that said "I've been burned. I think I ran over someone but he was assaulting me." She reportedly told officers the text was sent after she missed a call from Ibarra.

Springfield Mayor Jim O'Neal also got a call. “Being a combat veteran he had been in situations that were fearful, he said this was a first time in a long time he feared for his personal safety,” O’Neal said. “Our conversation was more about that he wanted to make me aware of it. I told him you are obviously upset get your facts straight.”

Police also asked for phone records detailing any communication between Ibarra and Springfield City Manager Greg Burris. “I received a phone call during Thanksgiving dinner,” Burris said. “I didn't respond to that phone call. I immediately got a text message from Mr. Ibarra that asked me to call him.” Burris says Ibarra told him his version of the road rage incident. “He just wanted me to know,” Burris said.

Search warrants reveal some of the evidence investigators are collecting but it is still unclear if anyone will be charged. Police were unable to find the text message from Ibarra to the assistant city clerk in her phone. They requested records from AT&T. According to court documents officers are analyzing an email that includes multiple attachments of the records requested.

KSPR News also asked for an interview with the assistant city clerk. Initially, the City told us instead Cotter would issue a written statement. A spokesperson then told us that since we were able to speak with the city manager and mayor, city leaders were not planning to issue anything further. The spokesperson told KSPR News a highway patrol investigator asked Cotter not to speak to the media.

Unedited Search Warrant Document Summary:

I, Robert McPhail, have been a police officer employed by the Springfield Police Department for approximately 17 years. I have been assigned to the Criminal Investigations Division for 6 years. I am currently assigned to the Violent Crimes Unit as a Detective. Previous to this assignment, I have had assignments as a narcotics investigator, major crime investigator, and crimes against persons investigator. During these assignments, I have assisted in serving more than 252 search warrants.

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