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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