Pumar returning to court
Jury selection to start in trial of driver accused of killing William Ware
The jury selection is scheduled to begin next week in the trial of Matthew Pumar, who is on trial for the death of well-known local man William Ware.
Pumar is facing a felony charge of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence in the death of Ware, who was struck and killed by the car Pumar was driving on June 21, 2012.
Judge Shelyna Brown will preside over the trial, which is set to start at 9 a.m. on March 18 in Department 89 of the Palo Alto Courthouse.
The 22-year-old Pumar was on his way to work on the day of the accident, when, according to police reports, he allegedly sped through the intersection of California Street and Escuela Avenue, swerved to avoid a utility truck and lost control of his car, which ended up traveling up onto the sidewalk, plowing through a bus stop shelter and striking Ware, who was killed by the violent impact of the collision.
Pumar, who was not seriously injured in the crash, stayed on the scene after the accident and cooperated with police. He was not taken into custody that day, but was arrested July 10 after a police investigation. He posted $100,000 bail the same day.
The jury trial will focus on the question of whether Pumar was driving recklessly in the run-up to the accident, as the prosecution alleges.
During a preliminary hearing, Duffy Magilligan, the prosecuting deputy district attorney, argued that Pumar was likely traveling close to double the posted speed limit of 35 mph and that he ran a red light before losing control of his car and colliding with Ware.
Pumar's lawyer, Dennis Smith, argued during the same hearing that his client was not driving nearly that fast, and that he had run a yellow light, not a red light. Smith also made much of the utility truck his client swerved to avoid — alleging that the driver of that truck had run a red light and partially obstructed Pumar's lane on California Street.
Ware was known around town as a friendly man who would regularly strike up conversations with passersby. He was well-known by Mountain View law enforcement, fire department officials, city council members, librarians and organizers of the Art & Wine Festival, according to his niece, Dolores Marquez.