A $5 million claim has been filed against Maricopa County and Sheriff Joe Arpaio, by the family of a Glendale man who was killed in December after being T-boned by MCSO Deputy Sean Pearce.
Pearce, the son of recalled Arizona Senate President Russell Pearce, had been going 81 mph in the 40 mph zone, seconds before crashing into 63-year-old Glendale resident John Harding.
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Pearce, in an unmarked Chevy Tahoe, later told Glendale police investigators that he and another MCSO deputy were driving down 59th Avenue to stay parallel with a suspect riding in a cab on 67th Avenue.
Pearce didn't have his lights or sirens on when Harding pulled out from a side street to make a left turn onto 59th Avenue. Harding's much smaller Nissan Cube was smashed by Pearce's vehicle on the driver's side, and Harding died as a result of the crash.
As Stephen Lemons previously reported, Glendale police investigated Pearce's speed at impact to be between 48 and 53 mph, as Pearce attempted to brake before impact.
State law specifically allows for police to exceed speed limits in certain situations, but says they may only do so if the "driver does not endanger life or property," and, more specifically:
This section does not relieve the driver of an authorized emergency vehicle from the duty to drive with due regard for the safety of all persons and does not protect the driver from the consequences of the driver's reckless disregard for the safety of others.
Glendale PD recommended a charge of manslaughter to the Maricopa County Attorney's Office, but there's been no decision at this point.
The claim filed by Harding's family against Pearce, Arpaio, MCSO, and the county, makes that very point. It also alleges that Pearce was not properly trained, and not properly supervised.
"The conduct of Deputy Pearce showed deliberate and callous indifference to the federally protected rights of John Harding and his surviving family members," the claim states.
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The claim offers a settlement of $5 million from the county, including $2.5 million for his wife, and $500,000 for each of his surviving five adult children.
Such a claim is required to be filed in the event that the family decides to file a lawsuit.
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