Town Square

Pumar sentenced to one year in jail

Original post made on Oct 22, 2013

Matthew Pumar, the driver who hit and killed a Mountain View man last summer, was sentenced to one year in county jail and three years probation.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, October 22, 2013, 11:06 AM


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Posted by parent
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Oct 22, 2013 at 11:46 am

This was a horrendous crime, but unfortunately local DAs are soft on reckless driving homicides and 1 year is pretty much the maximum they will push for when a killing that does not involve a DUI. I hope that Pumar is prohibited from driving during his probation and if he starts driving again after that, he is mature enough to do so safely.

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Posted by Chick-fil-haay!!!
a resident of North Whisman
on Oct 22, 2013 at 1:07 pm

The Judge was too lenient. A person's life was erased by some punk kid speeding at almost twice the posted limit.
Too bad he wasn't sentenced to a state facility. That would be a productive year spent in the general population.

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Posted by WHAT??
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Oct 22, 2013 at 2:19 pm

The rich...just get one year. is that all Mr. Ware's life was worth?

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Posted by Otto Maddox
a resident of Monta Loma
on Oct 22, 2013 at 2:22 pm

Was this a felony? If so the 1 year in jail plus 3 on probation is just the beginning. Being a felon is not much fun for years after your probation ends.

You gotta stay out of trouble. Any encounter with a cop and you'll be treated as the bad guy regardless of the situation.

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Posted by konrad M. Sosnow
a resident of Bailey Park
on Oct 22, 2013 at 3:07 pm

Generally, If the district attorney alleges that the defendant's driving amounts to "gross negligence," the charge will be filed as a felony.

Generally, "ordinary negligence" is more likely to lead to a misdemeanor charge.

However, the one year in county jail is a misdemeanor punishment.

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Posted by Bruce Karney
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Oct 22, 2013 at 3:24 pm

This is a shockingly short sentence, given the amount of negligence that must have been necessary to lose control of the car so badly.

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Posted by Member
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Oct 22, 2013 at 8:38 pm

Getting jail time for a first conviction is tough to accomplish for a DA. Excellent work on the DA's part.

This is as tough a sentence for Pumar, and it really is a long sentence for someone with no previous convictions. One year in Elmwood or the honor farm is not easy; not that I've been - but have known others that have served.

We'll see what the appeals process brings. That's a reason that Pumar may not want to talk.

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Posted by habanero
a resident of Gemello
on Oct 22, 2013 at 11:50 pm

Let us all be objective here. If this guy were an African American, he would have got 7+ of prison in a hardcore prison. Thanks to his skin color and he was able to get a very lenient punishment. If he were any whiter, he would have been sent to the Ritz Carlton in Half Moon Bay. Welcome to America.

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Posted by Jes' Sayin'
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Oct 23, 2013 at 12:12 am

Assume with good behavior he'll only out in 90 days?
and then free to run over more people?

I'd prefer to have seen about 5 years as an example to all these "holier-than-thou" drivers we're seeing out there.

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Posted by A juror
a resident of another community
on Oct 23, 2013 at 2:09 pm

Pumar was driving a high-performance car capable of fierce acceleration, but he did not have matching skills.

He could likely have lessened the severity of this "accident" if he had learned these skills on a skid pan, prior to driving such a car.

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Posted by Old Ben
a resident of Shoreline West
on Oct 23, 2013 at 10:15 pm

Disgusting. Money doesn't talk in Mountain View. It SCREAMS>

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Posted by Scott Lamb
a resident of Monta Loma
on Oct 23, 2013 at 11:09 pm

Scott Lamb is a registered user.

I wish others in the community would learn from this incident. While waiting to cross Rengstorff at Montecito during the evening commute, I regularly see cars on Rengstorff screaming through yellow and then red lights. I feel like I'm tempting fate biking across Rengstorff even several seconds after the light turns green for me.

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Posted by LoveYourDNA
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Oct 24, 2013 at 3:02 pm

@Anon of Willowgate: We don't need to know him or his past to understand this tragedy!

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Posted by Fact Checker
a resident of another community
on Oct 28, 2013 at 12:36 pm

Have been reading the comments on this site and others for months and am quite shocked and disappointed how today so many people come to conclusions about people or things based on zero fact or knowledge, essentially “guessing”, and being so wrong.
I know Matthew, and lay-out fact below, comment only at the end of this blog entry.
In making the blog entry, I point out that many who read this and other blogs are wise, and open minded that they may not “know it all”. One poster stated:
“Posted by Anonymous, a resident of Willowgate
on Oct 22, 2013 at 8:07 pm
You are all so quick to judge this situation just by reading an article. Do you know the full situation? Do you know Matthew's previous driving history? Do you know him as a person? The way you people think is disgusting. He is not a punk. You know nothing about him. “
On the other hand, other posters above have said their “guesses”, which they state are fact, such as: he is a “punk”, part of “the rich”, “Thanks to his skin color and he was able to get a very lenient punishment. If he were any whiter, he would have been sent to the Ritz Carlton in Half Moon Bay. Welcome to America”, “Pumar was driving a high-performance car capable of fierce acceleration”, “Disgusting. Money doesn't talk in Mountain View. It SCREAMS”
I know the facts about Matthew, no speculation or conjecture:
(i) He is a young 23 year old man.
(ii) the automobile that Matthew had was not a “high-performance car capable of fierce acceleration” but rather was an old, hand-me down car from his parents that was an old Audi which Matthew used since he was “broke” being a recent college graduate and paying tuition et al. Unlike those individuals who have “new” cars – such as Prius, those of us driving old “clunkers” have to cope with the noise from an old engine when they accelerate.
(iii) Matthew has never had any traffic ticket of any type before this tragic accident.
(iv) Matthew was an exceptional, hardworking student, who could have entered a CA University right after high school, but who chose to save his parents money (they do not have “excess” and are not “rich”) by going to a local community college for about one year (not 2 since he had taken required courses in high school to save his parents money),
(v) Matthew graduated an esteemed CA public University in an unheard of 2 years, not 3, again because he did not want to cost his parents money since they are typical middle class family (with an extremely difficult degree, that assists American business in the SF Area).
(vi) The accident occurred as the result of Matthew we understand seeking to avoid an individual who made a left turn at a signal, on a corner that coincidentally we understand had many other accidents and the municipality had scheduled repairs before the accident.
If we were all honest, we would admit that we all have come across an intersection when the light was green-to-yellow/turning red, and we had to make that split second decision, slam on the breaks or make the light. 100% of those I asked on some occasion during their life went through the changing light, and fortunately nothing happened. How many people are running a bit late to pick up their child and late to school, and have done the same.
Also, how many of us routinely walk across the street in cross walks or at signals, even with children, and are not looking out for drivers (child screaming in the back seat, phone ringing et al). How many people routinely make a left without looking to see if there is no traffic coming their way?? I was surprised to hear how many accidents occur of people standing on a corner (and not looking) or on a bike by individuals making a right turn, who are not attentive. Hopefully all of us become more attentive to assist all of us in not having an accident.
This time there was a series of very unfortunate events – vehicle that turns as Matthew goes through intersection, a solid outstanding young man (who never had a ticket or accident in his life) coming through changing signal in his old noisy car and swerving to avoid van, individual close to the corner et al. Unfortunately, nothing “dramatic”, which could not happen again – and to anyone. A tragedy, but an accident.
Everyone should learn from this tragic accident. Anyone who hears of it would not logically go through any light even if it “just turned yellow” (let the car behind be angry, hopefully not rear end you in the process, which can be a separate problem – which has caused many accidents itself).
It’s a dreadful thing to have happened. However – all of you making up cruel statements that are false should consider how you would want people to treat you or your children if you have to deal with the anguish of an event like this, would you appreciate false cruel statements to be made about you or your family member?

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Posted by Another juror
a resident of another community
on Oct 28, 2013 at 10:27 pm

Hey Fact Checker,

Another juror checking in here. I want you to know that the jury didn't have the same attitude that some of these commenters do. It was just about the facts and the law, not about the person. But there's one thing I disagree with from your statements and it's the most important one: not everyone has been in that situation before. We heard all of the evidence and concluded unanimously that Mr. Pumar's driving behavior that day was beyond what was reasonable and normal ("ordinary negligence"). He wasn't close to making the light and he was going way too fast trying. Yes, there was another vehicle there, but that's not an excuse for losing control -- it's actually even more reason why he should have tried to stop instead. He had MANY "split seconds" in which to change his mind. So his behavior amounted to, in the legal definition, gross negligence.

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Posted by Fact Checker
a resident of another community
on Oct 29, 2013 at 3:55 pm

Reply to Another Juror -

Hi Another Juror - why did the Van Driver not wait? Not looking or paying attention? Doesn't it take 2 events to make an accident in this situation.

An 8 year old car, makes a lot of noise accelerating when it is not that dramatic - unlike Prius .. when its only what most of us do/have done if we are all honest. I have yet to meet someone who when I asked has not gone through a changing yellow light - this took other factors didn't it, like the guy making the left and ignoring the car or saying so what or not seeing it?

Would you send a parent to jail who had a similar unfortunate event on the way to pick up their child if the gentleman on the corner was someone else looking the other way or texting/playing games?

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Posted by A juror
a resident of another community
on Oct 30, 2013 at 8:59 am

Reply to "fact checker". Are we talking about the same car? Mr Pumar was driving an Audi A4 at the time of this tragedy, a sport sedan with high performance features such as a tuned engine requiring premium gas, and a turbocharger which forces extra fuel mixture into the engine cylinders under high pressure.

If the gas pedal is floored, the explosive force during ignition in the cylinders can be almost double the force without turbocharging, and it feels like being hit in the back with a sandbag. Believe me, I used to own such a car. It had to be driven with extreme consideration for other road users, to prevent anybody getting an unpleasant surprise, or worse.....

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Posted by Another juror
a resident of another community
on Oct 30, 2013 at 10:49 am

Don't want to dwell on this, but yes, the van driver testified that he did not see Mr. Pumar coming, which was obviously also a factor in the accident. But the van driver wasn't on trial, at least in our courtroom. The jury agrees that it was an accident and as with most accidents, there were multiple factors. It doesn't change the fact that by the definition of the law, Mr. Pumar was guilty of the charge.

Two other points before I leave this for good: 1- sending someone to jail was up to the judge, not the jury. The jury didn't even know the range of possible sentences. 2- if you believe that he simply went "through a changing yellow light" as many people do, then you don't have all of the evidence. The jury did.

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Posted by fact checker
a resident of another community
on Oct 31, 2013 at 1:21 pm

Reply to "A Juror"

Your comments are of grave concern.

Hand me down Audi is dangerous automobile because of premium gasoline?


Tesla, BMW, et al.

Listen to Dave Ramsey - responsible people like Matthew drive hand-me down old cars. They don't purchase expensive Prius, Teslas, BMW . By the way, the latter are all high-performance- not your approaching 10 year old car. My 15 year old Mercedes take premium and is loud.

You were actually on the jury??? Really?

Car sales are important - they allow muncipalities like yours to more timely to conduct repairs - like this municipality failed to do until 1 week or so after the accident. Are you angry at all car manufacturers for manufacturing "high performance" cars - ??? they run on unleaded - is that why you are okay with newer cars? Or are you angry because "premium gas" causes more polution??? Incoherent - you express importance of premium gas - high performance cars today use unleaded...

Are you aware that old cars make noise unlike prius / tesla? accelerating to 45 in a 10 - 15 year old car like mine sounds like take off. Amazing how the van guy took a nap -

Accidents are accidents - this rationale that I read here - from you - would not exist in Los Angeles -

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Posted by fact checker
a resident of another community
on Oct 31, 2013 at 1:30 pm

Reply to Another Juror:

The thought process in this jury room is quite confusing"

Discussions of premium gas "fancy high performance cars"

Irrelevance of a van driver - "dozing??" not seeing or hearing a car coming straight towards him? ????????????? These are things that we are on high-alert every single day we drive in Los Angeles. Who the heck would be so stupid-thoughless to go ahead and make a left turn without someone coming straight toward them?

Every single day - no brainer basic thing we are attentive to in LA.

Irrelevance of your municipality "sitting on" a signal repair for a very long time and FINALLY making it after accident?

Deliberations are very confusing - Accident - yes. Not anything more. Shocking deliberations particularly when I read the comments of your fellow juror above - shocking.

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Posted by Nick
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Oct 31, 2013 at 1:52 pm

Fact Checker: you are not doing Matthew any favors, here. The facts are that he broke the law: driving at minimum 46 mph (as high as 62), and went through a light where he should have stopped. His reckless driving resulted in death.

It makes no difference if other people do it -- they shouldn't.

It makes no difference if he's otherwise a good kid -- he still broke the law, and someone died as a result. Plus this was likely already factored into his sentencing, and why he's going to be back on the street in a year.

This is tragedy for Matthew as well as the victim, but quit trying to defend him. Be thankful for his relatively light sentence, and tell everyone you can that reckless driving ruins lives.

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Posted by Fact Checker
a resident of another community
on Oct 31, 2013 at 6:38 pm

Reply to Nick:

That's the point - yes Nick - Shocking how this was presented against Matthew - SHOCKING

62 miles per hour - really now. Why did the Prosecutor not just say he was traveling between 46 MPH and 120 or whatever was the max on the speedometer? Its possible isn't it? Its possible. Maybe per the juror who posted he should be treated like this because he had premium gas and did not drive a Prius?

Lets try reality error - negligence - speeding through 10 miles per hour faster than he should have. Negligence yes - like about 5% of people driving through LA do daily. Other factor here is that "brilliant" van guy was taking a nap or in a coma - and your town should likely be sued for not fixing a dangerous corner - correct - how long did they sit on this corner - fixing in what a couple weeks later? Everyone involved in an accident on that corner has a gripe against your city. Negligence of municipality, negligence of van driver, negligence of Matthew (like tens of thousands in LA daily) does not equal what this Jury did. Tragic results - often in LA or big city - but Matthew was not of this level of what this jury did - not even close. The other 2 should be addressed - particularly the municipality big time.

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Posted by Mark
a resident of another community
on Nov 9, 2013 at 12:40 pm

Hey fact checker, so why doesn't this guy appeal the verdict? Sounds like he can afford to.

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Posted by Afriend
a resident of another community
on Feb 17, 2014 at 2:16 am

To Fact Checker,
Your comments/points are completely irrelevant. The fact that you say the van driver was "dozing" or "in a coma" is irrelevant. Someone with the name "Fact Checker" should know you are not able to do anything much less drive if you are in a coma. Come on now. Quit bringing in irrelevant ideas and statements "hand me down" this "old car" that. THE FACT IS, Matthew is at fault. He broke the law, and as a result, someone lost their life. No one else is to blame. I actually know Matthew and used to spend time with him a while back. He was a nice guy. He was polite. Certainly not someone you'd think this could happen to. But bad things happen all the time. And it doesn't erase the fact that if Matthew had not been speeding (breaking the law), the innocent victim would still be alive today and with his family.

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Posted by Bill Wares Niece
a resident of another community
on Jun 21, 2017 at 11:26 pm

Five years later and these comments are just unbelievable!! It feels like just yesterday. We love and miss you Uncle Billy!! xoxo