Sunday, October 28, 2007

Investigators recommend no charges in fatal accident

Investigators recommend no charges in fatal accident

By Max Foster, Roundup staff reporter

Tuesday, September 6, 2005

Payson Police Commander Don Engler will not face charges in a fatality accident in which the trailer he was pulling broke free, killing a Valley man, if the Maricopa County Attorney accepts the recommendation of the Scottsdale Police Department.

Don Engler, Payson Police Commander

Robert M. Harriman, 42, of Phoenix was hit by the trailer on Frank Lloyd Wright Boulevard in Scottsdale July 9. He was thrown from his motorcycle and run over by a minivan.

Harriman was transported to Scottsdale Healthcare Osborn, where he died in the emergency room. Records show the cause of death as a massive skull fracture and internal injuries.

Scottsdale police submitted their findings last week to the county attorney following an investigation that took about 45 days.

"We did not request charges, but the county attorney has the ultimate call on charging," Scottsdale Police Sgt. Mark Clark said.

According to Maricopa County Attorney Public Relations officer Bill Fitzgerald, a final decision is upcoming.

"The case in under investigation and I don't expect a decision for a week or two," he said.

The driver of the minivan told police at the time of the accident the intersection (Frank Lloyd Wright and Northsight) was exploding with debris.

The driver also told police he saw the motorcycle driver flying through the air and seconds later felt a bump he believed was the driver being run over. In the investigation, officers found the safety chain hook on Engler's trailer was bent and a retainer latch was loose.

"Both the forward and aft position of the retainer latch could be moved upward with a relatively small amount of force," the investigation officer wrote.

The officer also found that a spring on the interior portion of the trailer "appeared to be partially broken."

Engler told police just seconds before the trailer broke free he felt a bump, checked his mirror and saw the trailer was off center.

"He saw the trailer sway three or four times before it came loose and traveled into the opposing lane of traffic," the investigating officer wrote.

Engler said he did not wish to comment.

"Let's just let them handle it down there," he said.

See related story:

Payson police commander involved in fatal accident (July 15)

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