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Pennsylvania Officer Fired Because of Fatal Accident

December 24, 2007  | 

The Allentown (Pa.) City Council has voted to fire a rookie police officer for his role in a patrol car accident that killed a little boy.

In May, Officer Brett Guth ran a red light on his way to an emergency call, which caused an accident with another police car. Four-year-old Daviay Legrand was struck and killed when one of the cars spun onto the sidewalk.

Michael Rooney, president of the Allentown Fraternal Order of Police Lodge, told the Lehigh Valley Morning Call that the union will consult with its lawyers and decide whether to appeal Guth's termination.

He added that firing Guth "sends a terrible message" to other officers that they will not receive the support of city administrators if something goes wrong on the job.

"A suspension would have been justified, but not termination," Rooney told the paper. "He's still learning. He just made a mistake."

Guth, 32, was responding to a report of man threatening people with a shotgun at a local hotel when he ran the red light. Investigators say he did not see the traffic signal because he was looking at his computer to confirm the address of the call.

Guth's car broadsided another patrol car driven by Officer John Buckwalter who was on his way to the same call. The impact spun Buckwalter's car onto the sidewalk where it struck Daviay Legrand and Jason Marcelle, 21. Marcelle's legs were broken and Legrand was killed.

Legrand's mother and Marcelle are suing the city in federal court. They contend that the city hired officers without checking their driving records and did not train them how to properly drive to emergencies.

Guth was cited for speeding three times in 2001 and 2002. He joined the force in April 2006 and was still on probation.

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