A Fort Worth police officer has been indicted and arrested on a manslaughter charge for an on-duty accident that killed a retired Baptist minister.
A Tarrant County grand jury only recently heard the evidence against Officer Christopher Bolling for the accident in August 2012.
Police said Bolling was responding without lights and sirens to a report of a drunk driver when he collided with Joe Addington, 77, on Azle Avenue in Fort Worth.
Addington was critically injured in the wreck and the medical examiner said he died 12 weeks later due to the injuries.
Friday morning, Bolling turned himself in, was booked and bonded out. The indictment cited 'excessive speed' as the reason for the crash, and he was going 86 miles per hour before he crashed, according to those close to the investigation.
Anyone involved in the case agrees it was a tragic accident, but what is being disputed now by the officer's attorney and the police union is whether or not it was criminal.
"I believe the grand jury got it right,” said Addington’s son, Randy. “I think he should be held accountable.”
Randy believes his father’s death could have been avoided if Bolling wasn’t going twice the speed limit.
"Had he not been traveling at that high rate of speed, my dad wouldn't have been hit and he'd probably be alive today,” said Randy.
But Bolling's attorney, Jim Lane, says 86 miles per hour was not the impact speed; rather, the officer hit the brakes and skidded to a speed of 47 miles per hour when the cars hit.
"And he used what speed he thought was necessary to find that car and get it stopped before it caused a collision and possibly killed a number of people,” said Lane.
Lane says the officer used discretion with his speed, and did it because he thought there was a DWI suspect who was going to hurt someone.
He also says four prior investigations into the crash found the officer was not at fault.
The President of the Fort Worth Police Officers Association, Rick Van Houten, says the group is standing by the officer and hopes Chief Halstead does, too.
"If the chief terminates this officer, that will send a very strong message to the other officers that when they use discretion, they won't be supported,” said Van Houten.
The Fort Worth Police Department issued a statement Friday saying after the indictment, Bolling was placed on restrictive duty, meaning his gun and badge were taken away.
Early next week, Chief Halstead will review the case and decide whether or not Bolling will be fired.
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