Courts Protect Police, Toss Cop’s Speeding Charge
Last April, State College Police Sergent Bill Muse was driving down Beaver Avenue when Penn State student Kevin Ignatuk jumped out into the street. Sgt. Muse was traveling at 36 miles per hour (in the rain) on Beaver Avenue, which has a speed limit of 25mph, and was unable to stop his police SUV, hitting Ignatuk. Ignatuk had to be airlifted to the hospital with serious injuries.
Shortly after the crash, Pennsylvania State Police charged Sgt. Muse with driving too fast in poor conditions. Yesterday however, a Blair County judge found Muse not guilty of the charges, following the testimony of two crime scene reconstructionists. Both experts, one from the State Police and the other privately hired by Muse’s defense, came to the conclusion that Sgt. Muse would have struck Ignatuk even had he been traveling at 20mph, 5mph below the posted speed limit. Based on the testimony, District Judge Fred Miller decided to throw out the charges against Sgt. Muse.
The ruling angered many, who accused the courts of protecting the State College Police in an instance where they were blatantly at fault. The ruling that Sgt. Muse would have hit Ignatuk even if he hadn’t been speeding doesn’t change the fact that Sgt. Muse was still speeding. Does the fact that Ignatuk was drunk and acting stupidly clear Sgt. Muse of the fact that he was still breaking the law as well?
[Photo Credit: Tom Provenzano]
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Though the Judicial Board has final say on the timing of implementing all policy changes, it is expected the changes will take effect for the 14th Assembly if approved.
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