Florida Fire Chief To Be Prosecuted Over Fatal Wreck

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. --

The State Attorneys Office plans to prosecute a Jacksonville police officer and a Jacksonville Fire-Rescue district chief in connection with separate accidents that killed two drivers over 70 years old.

Assistant State Attorney Mark Borello told Channel 4 that Officer Marcus Kilpatrick will be charged with culpable negligence and giving a false statement in connection with the Jan. 14 wreck that killed 86-year-old Matthew Brice Ogden Jr.

Borello said district Fire Chief Adrian D. Johnson will be charged with culpable negligence as a result of a Nov. 21 wreck that killed Howard H. Corrigan, 75.

Ogden died after pulling into the path of Kilpatrick's patrol car on Merrill Road. The Florida Highway Patrol's investigation found Kilpatrick was driving 98 mph in a 40 mph zone in pursuit of a vehicle suspected of having illegal window tint just before the patrol car struck Ogden's pickup truck.

The FHP says Officer Marcus Kilpatrick was going 98 mph trying to catch up with a car suspected of having windows tinted darker than law allows when he struck a pickup truck driven by 86-year-old Matthew Ogden Jr.  AUDIO: 911 Calls After Fatal Officer-Involved Crash JSO Radio Calls After Fatal Officer-Involved Crash Kilpatrick told investigators the emergency lights were on at the time, but witnesses disputed that.

In addition to bringing charges against Kilpatrick, prosecutors are asking him to resign from the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office.

The second case involves Johnson driving a JFRD sport utility vehicle colliding with Corrigan's car at the intersection of 21st and Liberty streets. Proscutors said Johnson went through a red light without his siren on.

State law allows emergency vehicles to violate traffic laws, but only when lights and sirens are used and care is taken to protect life and property.

"Despite the fact that both the police officer and the fire chief were on duty and operating in the scope of their duties, we felt the driving patterns in each of those cases, separately, was to the level that it warranted criminal charges," Borello told Channel 4's Adam Landau.

The charges are all first-degree misdemeanors, punishable by up to one year in jail.

A JFRD batallion chief's SUV responding to a call with lights and siren on struck a pickup truck at the intersection of Libery and 21st Street. Kilpatrick has been working desk duty since his accident. Sheriff John Rutherford said he will not discuss the specifics of the case until after the FHP, the state attorney's office and his internal review board complete investigations.

Johnson, a 21-year fire department veteran of JFRD, is president of the Jacksonville Brotherhood of Firefighters. He returned to duty after the fatal wreck.

The state attorney's office notified attorney Steve Pajcic on Thursday that charges were imminent. Pajcic is representing both the Corrigan and Ogden families and has filed notice of intent to sue the city.

Previous Stories:

  • March 18, 2009: Family Of Man Killed In Cruiser Crash To Sue
  • March 5, 2009: Sheriff Addresses Officer Vehicle Policies
  • February 23, 2009: FHP: Officer Going 98 MPH When Man Hit
  • January 15, 2009: FHP: Elderly Man Killed In Collision With Police Cruiser
  • December 3, 2008: Man Hit By Fire Chief's SUV Dies

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