Officer takes plea deal in fatal car chase


One of two Las Vegas police officers charged in a fatal police pursuit took a plea deal Thursday that will keep him out of jail.

Andrew Charles Ubbens, 26, pleaded no contest to failure to use due care, a misdemeanor. He was originally charged with misdemeanor reckless driving in the May 19 pursuit that ended with the death of 26-year-old Ivan Carrillo.

North Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Natalie Tyrell sentenced Ubbens to pay a $500 fine and to serve 50 hours of community service.

The preliminary hearing for the second officer, Aron Carpenter, went on as scheduled Thursday. Carpenter faces charges of felony reckless driving and misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter for his role in the pursuit.

The chase began about 10:20 p.m. after a report of a possible drunken driver on the east side of the valley. After Carrillo refused to pull over for a traffic officer, Carpenter and Ubbens chased him north along Nellis and Las Vegas boulevards.

As the chase continued west on Craig Road, Sgt. David Toney called it off, he testified.

"It appeared we were pushing the suspect to drive faster and drive recklessly," he said.

The officers shut off their cars' lights and sirens and backed off as Carrillo's Honda Civic sped toward Lamb Boulevard. When he braked, his car spun out and briefly stopped, giving the officers time to approach and try to block Carrillo's car.

Toney said the officers were not disobeying his commands at that point because they had pulled back and approached Carrillo's car only to make an arrest. The problem came when the officers continued to pursue Carrillo after he regained control of his car.

"I could see them accelerate after him, which I did not want to happen," said Toney, who gave them a third command to end the pursuit with an emphatic "Discontinue. Now" over the radio.

Sitting at the stop light at Craig and Lamb, Toney watched the cars speed away and heard the officers report on radio that their cars had hit Carrillo's.

That contact "tells me they were in violation of my very clear and direct order," he said.

At one point in the chase on Lamb, Ubbens unsuccessfully tried to stop Carrillo by using the Precision Intervention Technique, also called PIT, to bump the man's car and spin it out of control, Las Vegas Detective Bill Redfairn testified.

With the cars speeding about 61 mph near Lone Mountain, Carpenter's patrol car bumped Carrillo's car, sending it into oncoming traffic and triggering a four-car crash that killed Carrillo, he said.

Although Carpenter's actions were consistent with an attempted PIT, he told investigators he was performing an evasive maneuver to avoid colliding with the Honda, Redfairn said.

Carpenter, a four-year Metropolitan Police Department veteran, is on unpaid suspension pending the outcome of the case. Ubbens was placed on paid leave after his arrest. The officers cannot be terminated from the force until completion of the internal affairs investigation.

 

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