Police report sheds new light on deputy's fatal traffic accident

New report gives deputy's account of accident

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - 23 ABC is learning more about what happened the night a deputy ran down two people while responding to a call.

Deputy John Swearingin is facing two counts of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence after he hit and killed two people in Oildale last December.

The newly released police report shows what he says happened.

On Dec. 16, 2011, Swearingen said he was doing paperwork in a church parking lot when he heard about a grand theft auto suspect on the scanner.

He was dispatched to assist Bakersfield Police with the call.
 

In the report it shows while en route, he reached speeds more than 80 miles per hour in an area with a posted speed limit of 45 miles per hour.

As Swearingen approached the intersection of Norris Road and McCray Street, he went to grab his radio to let his sergeant know about the pursuit and ask for permission to respond.

When he reached for the microphone, he took his eyes off the road and that is when he hit Daniel Hiller and Crystal Jolley as they were crossing the street with a motorcycle that had run out of gas.

Swearingen stated: "Right when I grabbed the radio and looked up, the motorcycle was right in front of me, and I hit it."

He said he took his eyes off the road because he had a drink that was too big for his cup holder, causing his hand to fumble when he grabbed the radio.

Swearingen confirmed he did not have on his emergency lights, and says he didn't have time to use his the brakes.

The report shows he hit Hiller and Jolley at 64 miles per hour, and if he had been following the posted speed limit of 45 mph, the two would have cleared the roadway in time and Swearingen would not have hit them.

Swearingen is due back in court on Oct. 26.

If convicted he faces up to seven years in prison.
 

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