Guy hits another car while doing twice the speed limit, and kills its driver, a 20-year-old college student. The student’s mother is in the passenger side, and watches her son die. Despite the fact that the guy admits he had been out drinking, the police don’t give him an alcohol test at the scene. Instead, they test the dead student’s blood (it was negative). The guy then gets caught lying to investigators about what he was doing in the hours leading up to the crash. He says he was sleeping. His cell phone records say otherwise. Guy gets off with a speeding ticket. Doesn’t even lose his job.
Oh, did I mention that the guy is a cop? And that he’s still on the job in . . . drumroll, please . . . Prince George’s County, Maryland?
“We have a lot of fatality cases where tickets are the only option for us,” Ivey said. “I think it’s wrong, and I think the law needs to change.”
Ivey said he is working for a fourth consecutive year with state legislators to draft a bill that would allow prosecutors a “middle ground” to more easily prosecute drivers who cause substantial injury or death.
The prosecutor also said his recent failure to win a conviction of Scott Campbell, a county police officer who was charged with manslaughter in an eight-car pileup last year on the Beltway, factored into his decision not to present the Chavez case to a grand jury.
Somehow, I doubt your average motorist in Prince George’s County would have gotten off so lightly. In addition to the failure of this cop’s colleagues to test him for alcohol, other key pieces of evidence seem to have wound up damaged or missing:
Gray said she is also troubled that potential evidence has never been analyzed. A black box recording device for the cruiser still sits in Detroit, where Ivey’s office says software problems have prevented technicians from retrieving the record of Chavez’s actions before the crash.
Maj. Andy Ellis, a county police spokesman, said officers who responded to the Dec. 10, 2007, crash followed state law in not testing Chavez’s sobriety. Officers at the scene reported seeing no reason to think Chavez had been drinking. He said the police department will begin an internal investigation.
Gray said her lawyer has found that a page of nurse’s notes about Chavez’s condition when he arrived at Prince George’s Hospital after the crash is missing.
Funny how that works.