Pumar sticks with not-guilty plea
Matthew Pumar, the man accused of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence for allegedly hitting and killing local man William Ware last summer, maintained his not guilty plea to the felony charge at his arraignment today, Jan. 14.
At the arraignment, which only lasted a few minutes, the 22-year-old Pumar stuck to the plea he first entered on Sept. 26, before a preliminary hearing was held.
At the conclusion of that preliminary hearing, Judge Thang Nguyen Barrett ruled that sufficient evidence had been presented to warrant a jury trial.
Ware's niece, Dolorez Marquez, one of only a couple of representatives from the victim's family, attended the arraignment. Outside the courtroom after the arraignment, Marquez said the prosecuting deputy district attorney had told the family to expect a not guilty plea. While Marquez was not surprised, she said she believed Pumar ought to plead guilty to the charges as she believes the evidence makes it quite clear that Pumar was driving "recklessly" on June 21, 2012, the day her uncle died.
During the preliminary hearing, some witnesses said Pumar was driving much faster than the posted speed limit of 35 mph before the accident. Based on the distance the victim's body was thrown, a traffic accident expert with the Mountain View Police Department estimated that Pumar's car may have been traveling anywhere between 46 and 62 mph when it struck Ware.
Pumar's attorney has maintained that his client was not driving negligently at the time of the accident, which occurred around 9:30 a.m. Pumar is alleged to have run a red light, swerved to avoid a van in the middle of the intersection — which was waiting for oncoming traffic to pass before making an unprotected left turn — and lost control of the car, which careened off the road, onto the sidewalk and through a portion of a bus stop shade structure before hit Ware.