Register | Forgot Your Password? | Close

PHOENIX -- A Maricopa County Sheriff's Office deputy is still on the job while the County Attorney's Office decides whether he should be charged with manslaughter.

Meanwhile, Sheriff Joe Arpaio said he's planning his own internal investigation into the actions of Deputy Sean Pearce but did not say when that would begin.

Glendale police say that on Dec. 16, 2013, Pearce was driving a Chevy Tahoe 81 mph, which is twice the posted speed limit, when it struck a car near 59th Avenue and Northern. The driver of the car, 63-year-old Army veteran John Harding, was killed in the crash.

Pearce claims he was chasing a murder suspect at the time and that his Tahoe did not have lights and sirens in the car.

"He was not arrested," Arpaio said. "This is an investigation by the Glendale police, who turned it over to the County Attorney. It will be up to the County Attorney to make a decision on any charges."

Arpaio said that Pearce is devastated by the accident. He added that Pearce has a great record as a deputy.

"He's been on the job for 21 years. (He's) dedicated," Arpaio said. "No blemish on his record. He was shot and almost killed by a violent criminal."

Pearce is the son of former Arizona Senate President Russell Pearce, a longtime Arpaio ally. Arpaio said that despite the relationship, he's not showing favoritism or playing politics.

"If anybody wants to go after him, me or the County Attorney for political's not fair. This has nothing to do with politics," said Arpaio.

Russell Pearce is also a supporter of Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery.

Bob McClay, Reporter

share this story:
Attention Comment Users: We have recently changed our comments boards.
We would like you to be part of the conversation and The Voice of Arizona by logging in with your Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Disqus account. Existing KTAR (Arizona Sports) account members will need to create a Disqus account or use one of the aforementioned social media logins. Thank you.
comments powered by Disqus

World Class Arizona

  • Dignity Health

    World Class People. World Class Company. Excellent care, delivered with compassion, for all in need.
  • Family in Focus

    KTAR spends the week taking a look at the issues a modern Arizona family faces.