Local News

Monday, Sep 24 2012 06:57 PM

CHP completes investigation into crash involving deputy who hit, killed two

By THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN

The California Highway Patrol has completed its investigation into a Kern County sheriff's deputy who struck and killed two people in an Oildale intersection nine months ago and has submitted its report to the District Attorney's office.

CHP Capt. Bill Nation said Monday the investigative report was sent to the DA's office Wednesday. He described it as "pretty lengthy" and said the CHP's Fresno-based Multidisciplinary Accident Investigation Team -- which is called to investigate particularly severe crashes -- did most of the analysis.

Kern County District Attorney Lisa Green said her office is reviewing the report and that it's going to take a while to go through.

Deputy John Swearengin struck and killed Daniel Hiler and Chrystal Jolley as they were crossing south on Norris Road near Diane Drive while pushing a motorcycle.

Both Hiler and Jolley died at the scene. Swearengin was treated for minor injuries at a hospital, and the CHP has said Swearengin was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

The deputy was responding to a report of a stolen vehicle at the time of the crash. Questions have been raised about the speed at which Swearengin was traveling and whether his flashing lights were activated.

Nation said Monday that the investigation didn't take overly long considering the magnitude of the incident and that MAIT was involved. MAIT-investigated crashes are typically more in-depth than others.

The families of Jolley and Hiler have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the County of Kern alleging Swearengin acted recklessly and in conscious disregard of the public's safety by driving at an excessive speed and without emergency lights or sirens through an area known to have high pedestrian traffic.

A case management conference in the civil suit is scheduled for Tuesday morning.

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