Widow to sue for fatal crash involving deputy - CBS 5 - KPHO

Widow to sue for fatal crash involving deputy

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(Source: Glendale Police Department) (Source: Glendale Police Department)
PHOENIX (CBS5) -

Family members of a man killed in a crash with a deputy driving an unmarked Maricopa County Sheriff's Department vehicle have filed a wrongful death notice of claim.

On Dec. 16, 2013, John Harding died of injuries sustained when an unmarked Chevy Tahoe driven by on-duty Deputy Sean Pearce smashed into him at 59th Avenue and Hayward in Glendale.

Harding was pulling out from Hayward onto 59th Avenue. Pearce was northbound on 59th Avenue when he smashed into Harding's Nissan Cube.

Glendale police investigated the accident and determined Pearce was driving 40 mph over the speed limit just prior to the crash. Pearce's Tahoe did not have lights and siren running at the time of the crash. The deputy was not answering a radio call but was on his way to back up a detective who was following a felony suspect.

Attorney Kevin Garrison filed the notice of claim on behalf of Harding's widow Nohemi and Harding's five adult kids.

The claim states that Harding died as a result of "negligent, grossly negligent and willful conduct of Deputy Sean Pearce."

A notice of claim is the first step required when there's an intent to sue a government agency. Named in the claim letter along with Pearce are Sheriff Joe Arpaio, Maricopa County and the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office.

The named entities have 60 days to settle or respond to the claim letter.  The settlement offered by the Hardings is $5 million. If no settlement is reached in the 60 days, Garrison will file suit on behalf of the surviving members.  

Investigators turned their findings over to the Maricopa County Attorney's Office recommending Pearce be charged with manslaughter. The case is still under review. No charging decision has yet been made.

Read the full Notice of Claim here.

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