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Accident Victims Killed; Officer Rejects Plea Deal

Santa Rosa residents are used to seeing the California Highway Patrol out doing their duty to serve and protect. However, sometimes, the attempt to keep people safe can have the opposite effect. This was the case with a recent accident that resulted in the death of two people, and a CHP officer being charged as a result.

On Dec. 16, 2011, a CHP officer was traveling at a high rate of speed on Norris Road in Bakersfield. According to authorities, the officer was doing over 80 mph. The posted speed limit for that area is 45 mph. The officer was allegedly responding to a call regarding a stolen vehicle.

According to the officer, he was fumbling for his radio to get permission to turn on his lights and siren when he struck two people as they were crossing the road and pushing a motorcycle. The officer hit his breaks moments before impact, and was believed to have been traveling at 60 mph when he struck the pair. The man and woman who were struck were killed on impact.

The officer has been charged with two counts of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence. He was offered a plea deal of two years in prison in exchange for a no contest plea. The officer rejected the deal and is scheduled to head for trial. If convicted, the officer could have seven years in prison ahead of him.

Investigators have already determined that the pair that was struck and killed were not at fault for the accident. With this information, the officer would not have to be convicted of a criminal act to be held financially responsible for the¬†accident victims’ death. An experienced legal representative can help anyone who has been wronged by another seek damages for injuries and losses.

Source:¬†Bakersfield Californian, “Deputy rejects plea deal, scheduled for trial in case where two pedestrians killed” Jason Kotowski, Feb. 27, 2014