Advertisement

You will be redirected to the page you want to view in  seconds.

Victim in Texas parade crash accused of lying

Jun. 12, 2013 - 06:00AM   |  
Shane Ladner, 40, of Canton, Ga., who was arrested Wednesday and charged with four counts of theft by deception, false swearing and giving a false statement to police.
Shane Ladner, 40, of Canton, Ga., who was arrested Wednesday and charged with four counts of theft by deception, false swearing and giving a false statement to police. (Cherokee County Sheriff's Office / AP)
  • Filed Under

ATLANTA — An ex-police officer from Georgia who was injured in a train accident during a veterans parade in Texas is accused of lying about receiving a Purple Heart medal and was arrested Wednesday, Cherokee County sheriff’s officials said.

Former Holly Springs police officer Shane Ladner, 40, was never awarded a Purple Heart and is charged with four counts of theft by deception, false swearing and giving a false statement to police, Cherokee County Sheriff’s Lt. Jay Baker said.

Ladner presented a military discharge form claiming that he was the recipient of the honor when he applied for a free Purple Heart license plate in 2009, Baker said, adding that Army officials have no record of the form that Ladner presented to get the plate.

Ladner and his wife, Meg, were among those injured in a mid-November train crash in Midland, Texas, that killed four people. One of Meg Ladner’s legs had to be amputated.

The Ladners made the trip to the west Texas city to participate in an annual event that honors wounded military veterans with a parade, a banquet, a hunting trip and more. The event was organized by Midland-based Show of Support.

It’s unclear whether Ladner provided the event’s organizers with the same discharge form authorities say he used to get the free license plate. A call to the organization Wednesday afternoon was not returned.

To get the free Purple Heart license plate, Ladner was required to swear that he was a recipient of the honor and went through a renewal process to keep the plate for the next three years, Baker said.

“He benefited financially all four years — that’s where the four charges of theft by deception come from,” Baker said, adding the charge of giving false statements to police “stems from an interview in which investigators feel he lied.”

Sheriff’s officials said they investigated only Ladner’s application for the free license plate, not the Army discharge form he used to get it.

The Stolen Valor Act, which was recently signed into law by President Obama, made it a crime to fabricate military honors with the intent of benefiting personally or financially. The crime is punishable by fines, up to a year in prison or both.

A spokesman for the U.S. District Attorney in Atlanta said federal officials were not involved in the case as of Wednesday.

Ladner was in the Army between 1990 and 1994 and reached the rank of sergeant. He served for a year in Honduras, according to Army human resources officials. He transferred to the Army Reserve and was discharged in 1997 after completing his service obligation. After that, he served in the Army National Guard between 1999 and 2005.

Ladner was a recipient of nine military awards, including the Army Achievement Medal, two National Defense Service Medals and the Humanitarian Service Medal, according to Army officials.

Nothing in Ladner’s files or in the Army awards branch includes a record of him receiving a Purple Heart, or any documentation proving that he’s entitled to one, officials said.

Ladner’s Texas-based attorney, John Cook, said in a statement that his client did receive the military honor and would be owed an apology when all the information comes to light.

“We’re disappointed that law enforcement authorities felt the need to arrest Shane Ladner today, especially in the manner that it happened, a traffic stop on the side of the road,” Cook said. “This arrest serves no purpose other than to continue to traumatize Shane and Meg Ladner, both of whom are still recovering from last year’s train accident.”

Ladner was taken to the Cherokee County jail on $23,100 bond, which his wife posted Wednesday evening.

More In News

Start your day with a roundup of top defense news.

VA Home Loan
Rates

Search By:

Product Options:
Zip Code:

News for your in-box

Sign up now for free Military Times E-Reports. Choose from Money and Education. Subscribers: log in for premium e-newsletters.

This Week's Air Force Times

This Week's Air Force Times

U.S. military shifting gears in Europe
'Center of gravity' heads east amid new tensions

Subscribe for Print or Digital delivery today!

Classifieds
MilitaryTimes Green Trusted Classifieds Looking to buy, sell and connect on Military Times?
Browse expanded listings across hundreds of military installations.
Faces of valorHonoring those who fought and died in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.
hall of valorThe Hall of Valor is a searchable database of valor award citations collected by Doug Sterner, a Vietnam veteran and Military Times contributing editor, and by Military Times staff.
   Last Post: garhkal
        Apr 19, 2014 3:13 PM
   Last Post: garhkal
        Apr 15, 2014 4:55 PM
   Last Post: Shaken1976
        Apr 15, 2014 5:13 PM
Handbooks

All you need to know about your military benefits.

Benefits handbook

Guard & Reserve All you need to know about the Guard & Reserve.

guard and reserve handbook