Mayor Recommends Firing Officer Involved In Crash That Killed 4-Year-Old

Thursday, September 27th 2007, 8:18 pm
By: News On 6

ALLENTOWN, Pa. (AP) _ A rookie police officer who caused a crash that killed a 4-year-old pedestrian was suspended without pay Thursday and the mayor recommended his termination as the city offered $500,000 to settle claims arising from the accident.

Officer Brett Guth, 31, ran a red light while responding to an emergency call and collided with another cruiser at an Allentown intersection on May 30, killing Daviay Legrand and seriously injuring his mother's boyfriend.

Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski told a news conference Thursday that his administration ``has determined that the actions of Officer Guth ... do not warrant his serving our citizens and our community as a police officer.''

Guth should be fired, Pawlowski recommended to the City Council, which has the final say.

The rookie officer was responding to a report of a man with a gun when glanced down at his computer screen and ran the red light, causing the crash that pushed the other cruiser onto the sidewalk. Daviay and Jason Marcella were pinned against a wall. Marcella's legs were shattered.

Prosecutors announced Wednesday that Guth was cited for running a red light, but would not be charged in the boy's death _ a decision that infuriated his family.

The city has offered $500,000 _ the city's maximum liability under state law _ to settle all claims arising from the crash. Robert G. Bauer, a lawyer for the Legrand family, said Thursday that the family will reject the offer and file a federal lawsuit instead.

``When the facts come out about the circumstances of (Guth's) hiring, his background and training, we will be able to establish that the conduct of the city was so egregious'' that it violated the civil rights of Daviay and his family, Bauer said.

Guth had been fined for speeding four times before joining the police force in April 2006, according to court records obtained by The Morning Call of Allentown.

Police Chief Roger MacClean said that Guth had gone several years without an infraction and ``that has to be taken into account.''

A telephone number for Guth was not accepting calls Thursday.