Trial begins for ex-officer charged in motorist's death

The trial began Wednesday for a former Las Vegas police officer facing charges related to a May 2010 police pursuit that left one person dead and another injured.

Aron Carpenter faces one count each of felony reckless driving and misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter for his role in the pursuit that ended with the death of 26-year-old Ivan Carrillo.

Authorities say the chase began about 10:20 p.m. after a report of a possible drunken driver on the east side of the valley. Carrillo was high on methamphetamine and was weaving in and out of traffic.

After Carrillo refused to pull over, Carpenter and officer Andrew Charles Ubbens, in separate cars, chased his vehicle north on Nellis and Las Vegas boulevards. The two officers were ordered three times to end the chase.

With the cars speeding at more than 60 mph near Lone Mountain Road, Carpenter's patrol car bumped Carrillo's car, sending it into oncoming traffic and triggering a four-car crash that killed Carrillo. A person in another vehicle was injured, authorities said.

During his opening statement, defense attorney Bret Whipple said Carpenter did not cause the crash. He said Carrillo made an "abrupt lane change" and collided with Carpenter's cruiser, spun out of control and caused a three-vehicle collision. Carpenter "did not intend to hurt anybody nor cause an accident," Whipple told the jury.

Prosecutor Lawrence O'Neale said Carpenter was driving about the same speed as Carrillo after he'd been ordered to disengage the pursuit. "Officer Carpenter set into motion events that would kill Ivan Carrillo" and injure a woman, he said.

Carpenter, who was fired from the police department in March, is expected to testify in the trial.