Report: MCSO deputy traveling 81 mph before deadly crash

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By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- A just released police report is revealing new details about what led up to a deadly car crash involving a Maricopa County Sheriff’s Deputy.

The crash occurred on December 16, 2013.

John Harding, 63, died from injuries suffered during the collision.

According to police, Harding was trying to turn left onto 59th Avenue near Northern Avenue in Glendale, when he crashed with an unmarked MCSO vehicle traveling northbound.

The police report reveals the deputy, identified as Sean Pearce, was traveling 81 miles per hour, before the crash, more than 40 miles above the speed limit. He was not injured in the crash.

"He was going very fast and that makes me angry," said Harding's wife Nohemi. "I know he’s a policeman, but still you have to have precautions."

According to the police report, Deputy Pearce, who was following a homicide suspect at the time, said he did not have emergency lights in his unmarked black Tahoe and said there was no time to honk the horn as a warning.

"Sean said he locked up his brakes and attempted to turn. He said he knew he was going to hit the car because the vehicle had pulled out right in front of him," said the Glendale Police Department Collision Investigation Supplemental Report.

A witness who heard the crash that day described it sounding like an "explosion." The area where the crash occurred is lined with shopping centers and neighborhoods. Glendale Police estimate the deputy’s speed at impact was 48 to 53 miles per hour.

"It could have been somebody else, a car full of children," said Harding.

Glendale Police says the case has been submitted to the County Attorney’s Office for review.

"I want justice for my husband," said Harding. "I don’t care if he’s a policeman, son of an ex-senator. I want justice."

Deputy Pearce is the son of former Arizona Senate President Russell Pearce.

The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office declined to comment on the Glendale Police investigation, but told 3TV Deputy Pearce is back to work on regular duty.

An MCSO administrative investigation will begin once the criminal investigation concludes.