Officer’s Text Message Ruled A Factor In Pedestrian Fatality - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Officer’s Text Message Ruled A Factor In Pedestrian Fatality

SPOKESMAN REVIEW.COM - A Spokane police officer who hit and killed an intoxicated pedestrian in his patrol car in January was typing a message into his onboard computer just before the crash.

Officer Gordon Ennis told investigators he sent the message to another officer just before he struck John A. Van Curler at West Montgomery Avenue while southbound on North Monroe Street on Jan. 30.

That detail was released publicly for the first time in a report this month from Spokane police Ombudsman Tim Burns, who concluded that inattentive driving was a factor in the tragedy but agreed with prosecutors that no charges against Ennis were warranted. Prosecutors were aware of the text message when evaluating the case.

Burns called the crash "just one of those regrettable situations."

"This officer's going to have to live with that the rest of his life as well, and that's a hard thing to live with, I suspect," Burns said.

Van Curler, 52, was pronounced dead at a hospital after the crash. His blood-alcohol level was .371, nearly five times what is considered legally drunk. >>>CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM THE SPOKESMAN REVIEW

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