Deputy faces no charges for pedestrian death

February 7, 2008 8:29:10 AM PST
No charges will be filed against a Franklin County deputy who hit and killed a pedestrian on New Year's Eve.

Franklin County Sheriff Pat Green says that is the result of an investigation by the highway patrol.

Green tells Eyewitness News that the highway patrol's investigation did not recommend charges against the deputy and the district attorney does not plan to file any.

In a convenience store parking lot on New Year's Eve, Jamie Williams told her cousin she would see him after awhile.

Just minutes later as Marcus Coppage crossed Highway 401 after visiting with friends at another store across the road; he was hit by a sheriff's car and killed.

"She's the sheriff. She go by, you know, they go by the law. She should've had her eyes on the road at all times," Williams said.

Deputy Crystal Mitchell was heading to a non-emergency call so she was not running her lights or siren.

She says she was distracted by a group of people at the store and momentarily took her eyes off the road.

"Could've been manslaughter. I mean she should have been paying attention," Williams said. "I mean what can you see at nighttime? What can get your eye off the road? You know it's New Year's Eve."

The investigation shows she was going 57 in the 45 miles per hour zone.

"She's going 57 in a 45. I mean if we was going 57 in a 45 we would have got a speeding ticket," Williams said.

But Coppage had been drinking, according to Green. He says the highway patrol report showed Coppage's blood alcohol level was .10, two points over the limit for driving.

"It didn't matter if he was drunk or not. He wasn't driving. He was across the white line," Williams said.

Green spoke the day after the incident and said his heart went out to Coppage's family and to the deputy.

Deputy Mitchell has been on administrative leave with pay since the accident. She will go through a medical and psychological evaluation Friday to determine whether she is fit to return to work.

Members of the Coppage family who spoke to Eyewitness News on New Year's Day, now say their attorney has told them not to comment on the case.


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