[Final result, seemingly inexplicably, the driver was never charged with any crime, and never issued and citation in connection with the incident]
Randy and Doris Bjerken, of Palmer, Alaska were in town visiting Randy’s dad… out for a stroll at 10AM on Mother’s Day when. BAM! An SUV jumps the curb and wipes them out.
Police say the driver, Andrew Whalen, 23, fell asleep during the May 8 incident and are recommending neg hom charges. Nothing is showing in public access yet. Those charges would (eventually) come from the county attorney… the brief investigation says no drugs or alcohol is suspected. Neg Hom is a relatively unusual charge — if impairment is involved the charge is usually manslaughter, and if there’s no impairment, there are rarely any criminal charges (just a traffic ticket; e.g. driving on the sidewalk).
by Ofelia Madrid – May. 20, 2011 02:36 PM
The Arizona Republic
The driver of the sports utility vehicle that hopped a curb and killed two Alaskan pedestrians in Scottsdale on Mother’s Day told police that he fell asleep while driving.
Scottsdale police investigators are recommending charges of negligent homicide against Andrew Whalen, 23, of Scottsdale, police said Friday.
Pedestrians killed in Scottsdale were from Alaska
Whalen was not booked into jail, police said. Charges were forwarded to the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office, police said.
About 10 a.m. May 8, officers were called to the scene at Scottsdale Road just north of Jackrabbit Road. Witness said Randy and Doris Bjerken were taking a walk on the sidewalk when a GMC SUV drove up on them.
The vehicle eventually struck a utility pole.
The victims were taken to an area hospital, where they were pronounced dead.
Randy Bjerken, 51, was pastor of the Matanuska Assembly of God Church in Palmer, Alaska.
Doris Bjerken, 50, worked as an administrative assistant and the children’s church director.
The couple were in town visiting the man’s father. They had taken a few days in Scottsdale after attending a pastor’s enrichment conference in Texas, a church official said.