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Monday, March 2, 2015 03:56 pm

Channel 20 newsman in bar fight

DeMentri in altercation at Hooters

Vince DeMentri, anchorman for WICS television news, was reportedly involved in a physical altercation at Hooters in Springfield hours after Tuesday’s election.

The altercation reportedly involved DeMentri and Garrett Brnger, another reporter for the station. Their status with the station is not clear. Neither has appeared on the air since Election Night. The men’s names and biographies have been removed from the station’s website. Neither could be reached for comment. 

Springfield police were called to Hooters on Horizon Drive shortly after 12:30 a.m. Wednesday to respond to a fight between two people. One person was bleeding from the nose, according to 911 dispatch reports. The two combatants drove away while officers were en route, one in a black BMW, the other in a black Jeep. The vehicle descriptions match vehicles driven by DeMentri and Brnger.

Police stopped a black Jeep that contained a person reportedly involved in the incident at the intersection of Ash Street and Dirksen Parkway, according to Dan Mounce, deputy chief of the Springfield Police Department, and 911 dispatch records. The deputy chief said that the person told officers that he had fallen from a stool.

“We have no comment,” said a person at the station when asked about the incident on Friday. “You would probably want to talk to the general manager.” A voice mail left with the general manager on Monday was not immediately returned.

The incident is the latest in a series of controversies involving DeMentri, who was fired in 2008 from a Philadelphia television station, where he was suspected of keying a co-anchor’s car after their romance ended. In a 2012 interview with the State Journal-Register, DeMentri said that the station ultimately gave him a monetary settlement and a positive statement about his journalistic abilities.

“I don’t think you can judge anybody’s character by an incident or two in life,” DeMentri told the State Journal-Register in 2012, when he was hired as the Channel 20 anchorman.

DeMentri was also arrested, but not charged with a crime, two days after 9/11 for allegedly impersonating a federal officer in an attempt to gain access to Ground Zero, according to the New York Daily News. In 2010, he was dismissed as a reporter from a New York television station after he was charged with slapping a chauffeur during a dispute over a parking space. Prosecutors ultimately dismissed charges in that incident.

Contact Bruce Rushton at brushton@illinoistimes.com.


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