CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — A West Virginia police officer has been indicted on three misdemeanor charges stemming from a deadly crash earlier this year.
Charleston police Officer Stephen Doss was indicted by a Kanawha County grand jury on charges of negligent homicide, speeding and an emergency vehicle violation, according to media reports. The negligent homicide charge carries a maximum of one year in prison.
Doss is accused of crashing into a woman’s car on Jan. 4.
The indictment returned Thursday says the woman, Dora Clarke, died as a result of Doss’ “reckless disregard for the safety of others.” Clarke died five days after the crash.
Police have refused to release her identity, but she was identified in the indictment against Doss. She was 80 years old, according to her obituary.
The indictment says Doss was driving 74 mph while responding to reports of a man armed with a knife at a housing complex. The speed limit where the crash occurred is 30 mph.
Charleston Police Chief Brent Webster has said it appears Doss was speeding without using his emergency lights or siren, which goes against department policy and state law, the Charleston Gazette-Mail reported.
The department has said the officer was driving in the left lane of a one-way, two-lane road.
Doss is scheduled to be arraigned Sept. 7 by Kanawha Circuit Judge Carrie Webster — who is the police chief’s sister.
Brent Webster, who is leaving the police chief’s job, would not comment Friday on Doss’ indictment or his current status with the department.
In a past interview, Webster had said officers sometimes are allowed to break the law if they receive permission from a supervisor. Their lights and siren are still required.
Some emergencies justify speeding, he said. However, officers still must drive with “due regard for the safety of all persons,” according to policy.