No wrongdoing found in fatal crash involving on-duty officer
A warrant request has been denied in the case of a fatal crash in Harper Woods involving an on-duty St. Clair Shores officer, according to the Wayne County Prosecutor’s office.
There was insufficient evidence of criminal wrongdoing, the prosecutor said.
Around 9:30 p.m. July 22, 2015, James Bush, 20, of St. Clair Shores was operating his motorcycle when he was fatally hit by a St. Clair Shores officer driving a marked police sport utility vehicle on Eight Mile near eastbound Interstate 94. The officer’s name has not been released.
Prior to the accident a minivan passed the officer without headlights on and turned left into a driveway off of Eight Mile, according to the prosecutor’s office.
“As the officer attempted to make that same left turn, Mr. Bush’s motorcycle struck the officer’s vehicle at the right front bumper,” the prosecutor’s office said in a statement Tuesday. “The lights on the police vehicle activated almost simultaneously with the accident and the car captured a video of the accident.”
According to the prosecutor, evidence shows that the officer was driving at an appropriate speed, yielded and made a reasonable determination that he could safely make a left turn.
“It is a tragic fact that the officer simply could not see the motorcycle due to the lighting conditions at dusk, and the fact that the motorcycle’s headlight blended with the headlights of the vehicle behind it,” the prosecutor’s office said.
Bush died from multiple injuries in the accident.
The case was investigated by the Michigan State Police. Police and the prosecutor’s office interviewed the driver of the minivan and her passenger. According to the prosecutor’s office the driver said that she knew the police officer was behind her and worried because she had a suspended license. She said that she turned her lights on and pulled into a driveway. She and her passenger indicated that they did not see the motorcycle. Another driver of a car between the minivan and the officer’s SUV also indicated that the motorcycle was not visible.
Toxicology test results for the officer were negative, according to the prosecutor. The 14-year officer also has a clean driving record.
Bush had a valid license and valid motorcycle endorsement, the prosecutor said. His driving record had two speeding tickets and one accident all in 2013. An autopsy found marijuana in Bush’s blood. The amount was determined to be negligible, the prosecutor said, but Bush was technically under the influence because the drug was in his blood, as opposed to only in the urine.