Crafton, Pa. Police Officer Donnie Breeden, 38, a 15-year veteran on the Crafton Police Force has been criminally charged with one count each of involuntary manslaughter and accidents involving death or personal injury. He was arrested after a friend implicated him in a 2007 hit and run — after which Breeden and his friends repaired his car and covered up his involvement. At the time, Breeden allegedly proclaimed, “I’m a cop, I can’t go to jail.”
Breeden, 38, has been with the force for 15 yeas and turned himself into the police after a friend came forward and revealed the details of the alleged crime and cover-up. The witness said that Breeden and his friends had been drinking before he struck David Hall, who was coming home from classes at a Pittsburgh agency for people with disabilities. He was first hit by Breeden and then two other vehicles. Investigators say that Breeden returned to the scene of the crash and asked witnesses if they saw anything.
The witness states that Breeden and his friends (who were following in other cars) fled the scene and agreed that Breeden would not turn himself in. He reportedly told them: “I’m a cop I can’t go to jail. If I go to jail I will kill myself. I’m getting out of here. No one knows I did this so I am getting out of here.”
The friends met up with Breeden two days later and repaired his car to conceal the accident. They allegedly fixed Breeden’s broken windshield, replaced a headlight, repaired a side mirror, “and attached a bug reflector to the front of the hood to help hide the dent to the right corner.”
What is curious is that there are no reported charges against the friends who helped cover up a crime. It is not uncommon for police to look the other way when friends know of a crime but do not come forward. However, in this case, the friends actively worked to get rid of the evidence of the crash to avoid detention. It would be also interesting to see if the Hall family could sue not just Breeden but these friends for their post-accident conduct — causing them to live years without any closure in the case. The injury for such a cover-up may be viewed as too attenuated or remote, but it would make for an intriguing torts case.
This was not the first case of notoriety for Breeden, who in 1996 was dragged by a driver down the street when his arm got caught in a stolen car when he tried to force the gear into park.
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12 thoughts on ““I’m a Cop, I Can’t Go To Jail”: Police Officer Arrested in 2007 Fatal Hit and Run”
“You said it Mike Spindell-how many DUI’s has Breeden passed out since 2007?”
Anonymous in Pittsburgh,
I can’t have sympathy for the man because he is an example of what is wrong with Police Work in this country. The majority of police are working class guys, like I am, who went into the profession to serve society and get the bad guys. A minority of them, perhaps 5%, went into it because they were into bullying people, or even worse believed it was easier than a life of crime. These are the sociopaths and the trouble with sociopaths is they are charismatic and tend to influence and corrupt those around them.
Your “gut” feeling is right, Mike Spindell. Unfortunately, I know the guy & he thought he could do as he pleased since he was a police officer.
You said it Mike Spindell-how many DUI’s has Breeden passed out since 2007? All the while knowing he killed someone & covered it up while under the influence. Who cares what happens to him in jail? My opinion is they should throw away the key & let him rot where he belongs!
Though I have no evidence, I’d guess that this guy owns more than one pair of mirrored sunglasses.
Does aiding and abetting come to mind? Conspiracy? Accessory After the Fact?
Manslaughter is said to be Death without malice aforethought. Does not Vehicular Manslaughter imply the malice portion?
Maybe I am on the wrong trail but it seems to bother me that the others have not been charged.
Were the cops as well?
“It would be also interesting to see if the Hall family could sue not just Breeden but these friends for their post-accident conduct — causing them to live years without any closure in the case. The injury for such a cover-up may be viewed as too attenuated or remote, but it would make for an intriguing torts case.”
I think it’s a case of common law conspiracy and thus actionable assuming the conspirators knew of the plot to conceal the tortfeasor or if they intended to shield him from responsibility for the death. I see nothing remote in this instance and the damages could be measured by the difference between the value of the case if prosecuted at the time of the wrongful death versus the value of the case now. I suspect the anxiety of the family in not being able to bring the tortfeasor to justice sooner has some value as well. Punitives seem in order, too.
“I have done crazy and illegal things to help out friends. However, they got caught and did very bad things, so it won’t turn out well for them.”
We’ll give you the indiscretions of your youth. With age and the sanctioned right to use deadly force comes responsibility. This officer is no kid, and he now has to face his transgressions like a man, not some wayward child.
Patrolman Donnie Breeden
*1990 Associates Degree from CCAC-Corrections Administration
*1992 Bachelors Degree from Indiana University of Indiana- Criminology
*1993 Act 120 Certification Allegeheny County Police Academy
*1993-94 Patrolman Oakdale Boro & Stowe Twp.
*1994 Patrolman Crafton Boro Police Dept.
*2002-2006 Member District Attorney Drug Task Force
*2003 Attended Top Gun Narcotics Training-Pennsylvania Narcotics Officers Assoc.
*Attended numerous training seminars
*Active Member FOP Lodge #91
“you can’t blame the cop for not wanting to go to jail. he probably would not have been treated well there.”
No he definitely won’t be treated well there. The problem is that a man who is supposed to enforce the law, broke it and the most important fact is that it was most probably a DUI. Nobody gets treated well in Jail except for the very tough, or very connected. You would think that LEO’s, who are sworn to uphold the law, would have more respect for it and not break it in the first place. How many DUI’s do you think Officer Breeden arrested? I bet he had little sympathy for them and treated them very harshly.
We have no way of knowing but my gut tells me that when dealing with the citizenry Officer Breeden was as “hardass” an officer as you can get, with a strong sense of self-righteousness and no mercy.
you can’t blame the cop for not wanting to go to jail. he probably would not have been treated well there. people will do crazy things when their life is on the line. also, I know why his friends helped him out. I have done crazy and illegal things to help out friends. However, they got caught and did very bad things, so it won’t turn out well for them.
Isn’t it a shame that in ’96 he didn’t end up under the wheels of that vehicle.
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