LIVERMORE FALLS — State prosecutors will not seek charges against a local police officer involved in a fatal collision with a pedestrian.

Officer Troy Reed was driving a police cruiser Oct. 28, 2016, when Joseph Slaver Jr., 23, of Livermore Falls ran into the road and collided with the vehicle. He died Oct. 31. 

According to the Maine Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, the cause of death was complications of multiple blunt force injuries as a result of the crash.

Slaver had been at a Halloween gathering at 554 Park St., also known as Route 133, where he was living with family and crossed to the opposite side of the road. He was running back to the residence when he hit the front-right quarter panel and windshield of the cruiser driven by Reed, 25, of Farmington, according to investigators’ reports.

“After reviewing all of the available material, the District Attorney’s Office has determined that there is no basis to bring any charges in this matter,” District Attorney Andrew Robinson said.

No one saw the accident happen, according to Androscoggin County Deputy Troy Young Sr.’s report and witness statements.

Lewiston police officer Jeremy Somma, a state-certified accident resconstructionist, reconstructed and mapped the accident. 

At 11:56 p.m., Reed radioed Livermore Falls officer Stephen Allen to respond to Reed’s location on Park Street. Reed then asked Androscoggin County dispatch for rescue to respond and to contact his supervisor, Young wrote.

Reed told Young that he was southbound on Park Street driving 50 to 55 mph. Reed said the pedestrian ran out into the roadway from the right side, and he struck the pedestrian. He said he saw a glimpse of something and slammed on his brakes at the same time he heard a thud and the windshield cracked. Reed immediately got out of the car to see what it was and saw a man lying in the breakdown lane, Young wrote.

According to several accounts, Reed was distraught and in shock.

His cellphone and cruiser computer were not used before or during accident. The cruiser’s dash video camera had been shut off earlier in the day and had not been turned on during Reed’s shift. Reed had no alcohol in his system. Slaver had a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.094 percent, according to Young’s report. 

This is a 50-mph speed limit area with a 55-mph speed limit sign visible to the south, Young wrote.

“It is my opinion that Joseph Slaver, who had been drinking, crossed the road to the property belonging to Russell Hine to urinate,” Young wrote in his report. “I believe it to be probable, when Russell yelled at his dog that it caused Joseph to return quickly to the party on the opposite side of the road. I believe Joseph failed to look both ways and (ran) into the cruiser as it drove by.” 

Somma’s report also said that alcohol could have had an effect on Slaver’s decision-making.

If Slaver was struck in the roadway near the mouth of the driveway at 554 Park St., then the reconstructed speed that officer Reed was traveling at the time of impact was between 50 and 56 mph, Somma wrote. 

These speeds are based on the distance that Reed said he was on the brakes at the exact moment of impact.

“However, based on my training, education, and experience, there is normally a slight delay when a person is reacting (visual/auditory) to hitting an object,” Somma wrote. “Any amount of time that Reed continued to travel (however short) would have an effect on the reconstructed speeds.” 

As Reed approached the area of impact, he would have been negotiating a slight curve to the right. His attention likely would have been drawn to 554 Park St. because of the activity going on there. Slaver was dressed in a black jacket and dark jeans. This would have made him very hard to see in the dark, rainy conditions, he wrote.

It would have been easier for Slaver to observe a vehicle with its headlights on approaching than it would have been for an operator to see a person off the roadway in dark clothing and no light, Somma wrote.

Slaver was running east across Park Street at the time of the collision. There was a significant dent above the passenger’s side front tire. No damage was observed to the front of the vehicle.

“The primary factor in this crash is the fact that Slaver attempted to run across Park Street as a vehicle was approaching,” Somma wrote.

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According to Maine state law governing pedestrian crossing, “A pedestrian must yield the right-of-way to a vehicle when crossing a way: other than within a marked crosswalk or with an available pedestrian tunnel or overhead crossing.”

According to the law governing “pedestrian prohibitions: A. Cross between adjacent intersections with traffic-control devices; B. Cross an intersection diagonally, unless authorized by official traffic-control devices; or C. Suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle that is so close that it is impossible for the operator to yield.”

Source: Lewiston police officer Jeremy Somma’s reconstruction report of a fatal cruiser/pedestrian accident

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