Pumar trial begins today

Man accused of 'gross negligence' in death of William Ware to face jury

The trial of Matthew Pumar -- the man accused of felony vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence in the death of William Ware -- was scheduled to begin today, Sept. 6. Pumar has pleaded not guilty.

It's been more than a year since the well-known Mountain View man was struck and killed by an out-of-control car as he waited to catch the bus near the intersection of California Street and Escuela Avenue.

A judge on Jan. 3 ruled there was sufficient evidence to try Pumar, the man behind the wheel. But the trial was continually pushed back for a variety of reasons -- including a request by the defense attorney for more time, other cases on the calendar, and the changing availability of witnesses.

According to a Mountain View Police Department investigation, at around 9:30 a.m. on June 21, 2012, Pumar sped through a red light, swerved to avoid a truck entering the intersection, lost control of his car, and struck Ware, who was killed by the violent impact of the collision.

During the preliminary hearing, Pumar's defense team sought to show that Pumar was not speeding or driving recklessly in the run-up to the crash. Pumar's lawyer, Dennis Smith, argued that the Mountain View resident had not run a red light, but had squeezed through a yellow light while driving at a reasonable speed on California Avenue.

Whichever version of events is true, Pumar ended up losing control of his car, which careered onto the sidewalk in the 1800 block of California Street and struck Ware, who was killed instantly.

Ware's brother, Jim, said he is pleased that the trial will finally begin.

"As family members of the victim in this case, it has been quite frustrating to make plans to be in court for the trial only to have the case continued again and again," he wrote in an email to the Voice. "Every time a court date approaches, we have to prepare ourselves emotionally ... to relive this horrific event, only to be sent home for another month or more."

In a conversation with the Voice he added that he wants to be able to put the tragedy in the past and stop worrying about upcoming court dates. "You want to go forward," he said.


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Posted by parent
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 5, 2013 at 5:04 pm

Does anyone know this Matthew Pumar? Did he grow up here and go to school here? What school did he attend? Where was he working when he killed the poor victim? Why was he speeding down a residential street at 9:30am on a work day?

Usually in manslaughter trials like this, there is plenty of background information about both the victim and the alleged killer. In this case, apparently absolutely nothing about the killer was ever printed by the media.

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Posted by timo
a resident of North Whisman
on Sep 5, 2013 at 7:47 pm

I brought my family to mountain view to escape the madness of the big city. This guy pumar was obviously speeding. It takes a very large amount of force to rip someone apart. My daughter works at Castro elementary school and she waits at that bus stop every school day. There are always people and kids in that area. That guy pumar should get the maximum sentance for his stupidity but the system will probably slap him on the wrist and call it done. If he was a poor minority he'd get life. And that is societies fault.

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Posted by AC
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Sep 5, 2013 at 8:05 pm

Actually car accidents are more frequent in less urbanized areas due to higher speeds. Some even claim the crime injury/death risk in an average city, outside straight up ghetto, is lower than car injury/death risk in its burbs. This area of MV seems to combine the worst traits of urban and suburban, cars included...

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Posted by Me
a resident of Shoreline West
on Sep 6, 2013 at 7:40 am

I live in that neighborhood and before the designated left turn stoplight was installed there were regular accidents at this intersection. My car got hit by a woman making a left turn on the same corner. Despite the 25 mph speed limit on Escuela and the crosswalks, I see people racing through this area in their cars on a daily basis.

They were in the process of installing the left turn signals when the accident occurred last year.

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