Maricopa County Sheriff Still to Be Charged for Fatal Accident
Prosecutors have still yet to determine if Deputy Sean Pearce will face charges for an accident five months ago. Glendale resident John Edward Harding was killed by a Maricopa County sheriff’s vehicle traveling more than twice the speed limit, driven by Pearce. The delay has ignited speculation regarding if Pearce will be spared because of his status as a peace officer or influential family ties.
Manslaughter Charge Recommended in Fatal Accident
The Glendale Police Department that is investigating the crash submitted its report recommending a manslaughter charge in March. Spokesman for the County Attorney’s Office, Jerry Cobb declined to comment on particulars of the review process but said the length of time it takes to make a charging decision varies on the type of case and the amount of material they have to review. Cobb also rejected the notion that Pearce might be receiving special treatment.
The Fatal Accident Caused by Excessive Speed
According to investigators, Pearce told them he was working with homicide detectives conducting surveillance on a suspect on the day of the crash. Pearce and a detective in a separate vehicle were assisting by “paralleling a few miles back” when the suspect left an apartment complex. The report goes on to say that Pearce’s Chevrolet Tahoe T-boned Harding’s Nissan Cube. Harding died shortly after being transported to the hospital. Pearce’s speed was clocked in at 81 mph in a 40 mph zone just seconds before the crash occurred.
Three Different Charges for Fatal Accident Vehicular-Death Cases
Arizona prosecutors can employ three different charges for vehicular-death cases. These are: negligent homicide, a Class 4 felony; manslaughter, a Class 2 felony; and second-degree murder, a Class 1 felony.
Former Maricopa County Attorney Richard Romley said “Peace officers, are not exempt from traffic laws. You cannot speed unless you use sirens and lights," he said, which Pearce was not using. “The law is pretty clear there.”
If you’ve suffered from a motor vehicle accident, you need the expert advice of motor vehicle accident attorneys such as those at Personal Injury Attorneys PLLC.
Source: AZ Central, Prosecutors silent on possible charge for MCSO deputy in fatal on-duty crash, May 13, 2014
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