Two Las Vegas police officers facing charges related to a May fatal crash entered not guilty pleas via their attorneys in North Las Vegas Justice Court Tuesday.
Officer Aron Carpenter faces felony reckless driving and misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter for his role in the May 19 death of Ivan Carrillo, 26.
Officer Andrew Charles Ubbens faces misdemeanor reckless driving.
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.
A Clark County prosecutor’s request that bail be set for the officers was denied by North Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Natalie Tyrell.
Both officers remained free on their own recognizance. A preliminary hearing is set for Jan. 6.
Ubbens’ attorney said he will seek to sever the case. A hearing on that expected motion will be heard at a later date.
Both officers are accused of ignoring their sergeant’s commands to stop their pursuit of Carrillo, who was suspected of drunken driving.
A coroner’s toxicology report released in August showed Carrillo had "acute methamphetamine intoxication."
According to a police report, Carpenter 29, and Ubbens, 26, ignored three commands to stop the pursuit. Ubbens attempted to end the chase by using the Precision Intervention Technique, also called PIT, to bump Carrillo’s car and spin it out of control.
However, Carrillo regained control and continued to drive.
Carpenter is alleged to have radioed to his sergeant that he and Ubbens had broken off the chase, when they had not.
Later in the chase, Carpenter’s vehicle struck Carrillo’s and spun it into traffic, causing a four-car crash that killed Carrillo and also injured a driver in one of the other vehicles. Although Carpenter’s and Carrillo’s cars hit in precisely the way a PIT is done, Carpenter maintains he was not trying to do the maneuver, police said.
Carpenter said he steered to the right because he perceived that Carrillo was moving into his travel lane, the report said, and investigators agreed with Carpenter’s account.
Ubbens, who has been a Las Vegas police officer since February 2008, is accused of lying during the internal investigation, in which he said he never attempted a PIT on Carrillo’s car.
Contact reporter Francis McCabe at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-380-1039.