Driver pleads guilty to endangerment in double fatality

Crime date: Oct 5, 2018

So many twists and turns, but illustrative on how the justice system has great difficulty dealing with bad drivers (never even brought manslaughter charges, sound familiar?). This 2018 case was referenced in an azbikelaw article several years ago, but there are updates and case is now (Dec 2021) finally closed :

Even when there’s some other clear evidence, e.g. very drunk, charges are sometimes not brought, e.g. police say Collin Reeves was very drunk at .145 BAC  proceeding straight ahead and collided with a left-turning driver at the intersection of McKellips and Alma School Rd in Mesa, resulting in two motorist (and their dog) deaths  County Attorney drops charges on accused drunk driver who killed 2 . Witnesses say Reeves’ light was red; but prosecutors claim they can’t prove anything, thus the dropped charges. — click for original article

After the MCAO (Maricopa County Attorney’s Office) declined the manslaughter charge; the case got tangled up with the MCAO’s  charge-dropping scandal, and Reeves wasn’t charged with DUI as a result of that imbroglio. Then, due to apparent victim’s families backlash, MCAO then did bring endangerment charges in early 2020.

The scandal was the MCAO blew the statute of limitations to file on 180 misdemeanor cases. Misdemeanors have a short (1 year maybe) limitation. Endangerment is a felony, albeit a low-level one, but felonies have much longer time limits (7 years IIRC).

A guilty plea deal was worked out, but in a bizarre and highly unusual twist, in July 2021 the judge for unstated reasons rejected the plea and recused himself. (minute Judge Roy Whitehead; the judge’s name was oddly not mentioned in the news article)

Criminal Case

Maricopa County Superior Court case CR2020-106407; case minutes.

Sentencing amounted to a suspended sentence and 3 years of supervised probation. The state had requested a year in jail.

I could only find one reference to the sentence buried in an March 2022 azfamily story: “Audri Dillard and Jesel Torres and their dog were killed in October 2018 when an accused drunk driver collided with their vehicle…After our story aired in 2019, MCAO did file new charges of endangerment in the case. The suspect pled guilty and is currently serving a one-year sentence”

So I dunno, the sentencing minute is right there, probation & suspended sentence.

This case was added to v3.0 of criminal tracking spreadsheet

This case was tagged “non-dangerous” (Endangerment is non-dangerous? See more here about criminal sentencing). There is some suggestion in the minutes that the prosecutors were going to go for a “dangerousness” allegation on the first deal. A dangerous designation would force a judge to issue at least a 1.5 year prison sentence. Is that why the first judge/deal fell out of bed?

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