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Pumar trial: Witnesses of grisly accident testify on first day

Four witnesses of the June 2012 traffic collision that killed William Ware as he waited for a bus in Mountain View testified today (Sept. 6) that Matthew Pumar ran a red light before striking Ware.

Pumar, 22, is facing felony vehicular manslaughter charges, and has pleaded not guilty.

According to a Mountain View Police Department investigation, at around 9:30 a.m. on June 21, 2012, Pumar sped through a red light at the intersection of California Street and Escuela Avenue, swerved to avoid a truck entering the intersection, lost control of his car, and struck Ware, a well-known Mountain View man.

Pumar was eventually arrested, then released on bail. He was charged with vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence -- a felony.

Judge Allison Danner is presiding over the trial, which began a 9 a.m. in Department 89 on the fourth floor of the Palo Alto Courthouse.

Pumar's lawyer, Dennis Smith, worked today to raise doubts as to whether Pumar actually was speeding, and whether he ran a red light. The driver, he said, simply tried to squeeze through a yellow light when everything went terribly wrong.

Smith also suggested that another vehicle may have contributed to the accident.

That's not the way the prosecution sees it. Deputy District Attorney Sean Webby questioned five witnesses today -- including the victim's niece and four individuals who were at the accident scene. He argued that Pumar accelerated excessively in an attempt to beat the red light, ultimately running it.

Those actions, Webby said, led the driver to lose control of his car and strike Ware, who was standing at a bus stop in the 1800 block of California Street.

Witnesses described a grisly scene. One man said that as he knelt next to a shaken up, but mostly uninjured Pumar -- attempting to calm the driver -- he put his knee in a pool of blood from the victim. The same man said he saw severed limbs, as did other witnesses.

All of the witnesses testifying today gave similar testimony, and all said that they believed Pumar ran the red light.

"I think all the witnesses told the same story," Jim Ware, the victim's brother, said.

The trial will resume on Sept. 9 at 9 a.m. in Department 89 of the Palo Alto Courthouse.

Comments

 +   Like this comment
Posted by parent
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 6, 2013 at 7:14 pm

When a light turns yellow, hit the brake, not the gas. Arrogant punk broke several fundamental rules of driving and now he deserves hard time. Not just a slap on the wrist like the Lego shoplifter.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Not a fair system
a resident of Gemello
on Sep 7, 2013 at 12:57 pm

I agree with you parent but unfortunately if you have money you can get away with murder. His family is loaded and has laid very low during this whole process. It sickens me but it is the reality. RIP William Ware


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Andrew
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 7, 2013 at 10:43 pm

He will soon find that taking the case to trial and not accepting an offer from the DA will result if convicted of him going to jail. He may still get time in county rather than state prison but jail is in his future. He will also be a convicted felon. He deserves nothing less.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Another victim
a resident of Shoreline West
on Sep 9, 2013 at 2:29 pm

@ Not a fair system; I really wish I did not agree with you. Unfortunately I have to. Several months ago I was hit while stopped at a stop light from behind by a lawyer going full speed. After finding out if HE was okay, he got back in his car (God knows how, since his car was all over the road), AND HE DROVE AWAY!! HE DROVE AWAY!!

If I had done that, and the police knew who I was (and we know who HE is!), they would have come to my house and taken me away to jail. So why isn't he?

Gee, could it be money? Makes you wonder, don't it?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Lydia
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 9, 2013 at 5:51 pm

As the family member of a man who was killed by an unremorseful drunk driver, it disturbs me to see another family being subjected to the traumatic court process because a guilty man won't take responsibility for his crime. My heart breaks for the family of Mr. Ware. And my heart also breaks for the family of Mr. Pumar. But, please..spare this family the ongoing torture of this trial. Admit fault for the accident. When all is said and done, the lawyer is the one who wins...He/she collects thousands of dollars for defending a reckless driver who killed a man. Pumar will serve time. And Mr. Ware's family will have to relive the accident over and over..their healing delayed..all because of Pumar's unwillingness to accept responsibility for his recklessness.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by parent
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 10, 2013 at 8:24 am

Where is Pumar's family? Why are they not publically supporting their son who is accused of homicide? Are they gangsters or drug dealers or something and afraid that they will cause the jury to discriminate against their son because of their background? Or are they just so embarrassed by their son that they won't show their faces in court or in anywhere town?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Not a fair system
a resident of Gemello
on Sep 10, 2013 at 4:14 pm

Well at least we all agree! Pumar should at least man up. Andrew brings up an interesting point, he was offered a plea (as all people do) and decided to take this to trial.

@anothervictim I am sorry for your story but it owes to surprise me. Remember when the lady killed a man in downtown mountain view and just drove home. Her license was suspended. WOW


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Lydia
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 10, 2013 at 5:19 pm

Pumar should watch this video and learn to take responsibility for his actions.

Web Link


 +   Like this comment
Posted by System fair
a resident of Monta Loma
on Sep 11, 2013 at 2:44 pm

Hmm, in SF a guy on a bicycle killed a pedestrian while riding his bike to fast.

He only got probation and if this also turns out to be an accident and not malicious manslaughter, then this person will only get probation as well.

The jails are filled, there is no room, to many criminals on death row taking up valuable space as well as drug dealers and a million or so illegals taking up space. Until the space issue is address these cases will not amount to much, other than lots of govt. expense on lawyers and judges. Our jails are a joke. Maybe the solution would be to outsource our jails like we have with all our other jobs. Thanks to the Unions our jails are way overpriced luxury hotels.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Kathy
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Sep 12, 2013 at 11:00 am

I knew Bill and I still canot drive down that street where the accident happeed. The man deserves to go to jail for his crime. Yes.. it was a crime.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by George
a resident of Rex Manor
on Sep 12, 2013 at 2:29 pm

Probably too far down the line to get read, BUT... this is NOT A TRIAL... It is simple hearing (Preliminary Hearing, it is called), being held before a brand new inexperienced Judge (But she will become a fine Judge)

The purpose of a Prelim. is to see if there is enough cause/evidence to have a trial... which would be sometime down the road.

If found guilty (eventually) he will probably serve one (maybe two) years in the County Jail (not prison under our new rules. So he would serve One Half of the ordered time (six months or one year)..


 +   Like this comment
Posted by resident
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 12, 2013 at 5:38 pm

George - he was found guilty of gross vehicular manslaughter by a jury


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