Sirens & Gavels

Probe continues into pedestrian crash

For a vehicular homicide charge to be filed against a Spokane police officer who hit and killed a pedestrian last month, investigators must show that he was intoxicated, driving recklessly or driving with a flagrant disregard for the safety of others, according to Washington law. 

Authorities said this week that Officer Gordon Ennis, an eight-year veteran, was driving between 34 mph and 39 mph in a 30 mph zone without his emergency lights and siren on when he struck John A. Van Curler, 52, at Monroe Street and Montgomery Avenue on Jan. 30.

Toxicology results from a blood-alcohol sample submitted by Ennis are pending. 

High speed can be a factor in vehicular homicide charging decisions, but Ennis was driving just slightly over the speed limit.

“Is 34 to 39 driving down Monroe a willful or wanton disregard for life? No. That’s the average speed on Monroe,” said Spokane County sheriff’s Detective Dave Thornburg, who is investigating the incident with a team from the Sheriff’s Office, Spokane Police Department and Washington State Patrol. “It’s not that I’m a fellow officer and I want to protect him. If we had probable cause that night, we would have made an arrest.”

On June 10, a pizza delivery driver who was slightly speeding ran a stop sign and crashed into another vehicle, killing a 9-year-girl; the driver received a $500 ticket for negligent driving.

Read my full story here.

Past coverage:

Feb. 3: Officer in fatal crash to return to patrol




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