Feathered Bastard

Russell Pearce's Son Sean Pearce: Video of Killer Car Crash

The Glendale Police Department today released video of MCSO Deputy Sean Pearce's December 16, car crash, which killed 63-year-old Glendale resident John Harding.

A local businesswoman provided the video to police, and there are two angles. The first is from the southbound side of North 59th Avenue and shows Harding's gray Nissan Cube pulling out from West Hayward Avenue, when he is T-boned by Pearce's unmarked black Chevy Tahoe, which was going north on North 59th.

The second video shows where both cars ended up: across several lanes of traffic, with the Tahoe crashing into a sign on the southbound side of North 59th Avenue.

Read the Glendale PD's supplemental report quoted in this blog post

Perace's vehicle was not equipped with lights or a siren.


First video: crash occurs around the 27-second mark

Glendale investigators determined that the Tahoe was going 81 miles per hour just seconds before the crash. The posted speed limit is 40 mph.

A reconstruction supplement was released today along with photos, the videos you see here, and other documents contained additional info on the accident.

One factoid: the Tahoe weighed 6,005 pounds, more than twice the 2,975 pounds of Harding's Nissan.


First video: crash occurs around the 27-second mark Part two, the aftermath, showing the Tahoe hitting a sign

An analysis of data retrieved from the vehicles by the supplement's author, Glendale PD investigator T. Yoder, found that just prior to the crash, Pearce took his foot off the accelerator and hit the brakes.

The recorded vehicle speed of 81 mph "dropped to the last recorded value of 57 mph prior to impact," reads the report.

Yoder estimated the actual speed at impact to be from 48 to 53 mph.

Pearce told investigators that he "locked up his brakes and attempted to steer," before the collision.

The Glendale officer found that the data retrieved was "consistent with the driver's statement about the events leading to the crash."

Yoder observes that if the Tahoe had been going the speed limit, the Nissan would have traveled out of the path of the Tahoe, and the Tahoe "would not have required any braking or steering to avoid this collision."

Pearce and an MCSO deputy who was driving behind him in another car told Glendale PD that they had been "paralleling" a suspect in a cab, which was on 67th Avenue.

Additionally, Pearce said other MCSO deputies were on 67th Avenue at the time.

I asked Glendale PD spokesman Jay O'Neill about Arizona laws regarding cops and rules of the road. He pointed me to A.R.S. 28-624.

It indicates that an "authorized emergency vehicle" can exceed "prima facie speed limits," under certain conditions, "if the driver does not endanger life or property."

But because Pearce's vehicle was not equipped with lights or a siren, it does not seem to qualify for the exemptions mentioned in the statute.

Sean Pearce, a 20-year vet of the MCSO, is the son of recalled, disgraced former state Senate President Russell Pearce.

According to a Channel 5 report on the matter, the MCSO says that Pearce remains on "full, regular duty."

On Tuesday, MCAO spokesman Jerry Cobb told me that the Pearce case had been submitted for a possible manslaughter charge and was under review.

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Stephen is a former staff writer and columnist at Phoenix New Times.
Contact: Stephen Lemons