News

Driver gets one year for fatal Mtn. View crash

Matthew Pumar also gets three years probation in death of pedestrian William Ware

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.

Judge Allison Danner sentenced Pumar on Oct. 21 in Santa Clara County Superior Court. He was convicted of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence on Sept. 12 in the death of William Ware.

Ware was killed on June 21, 2012, after Pumar sped through a red light and lost control of his car, which ran up on the sidewalk and careened into the 50-year-old Mountain View resident, who was waiting for a bus in the 1800 block of California Street.

Pumar, also a Mountain View resident, remained on the scene after the crash and was cooperative with investigators. He eventually pleaded not guilty to the charge of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence. However, the jury ultimately determined that he had been driving recklessly before he lost control of his car.

During the trial, a traffic collision expert with the Mountain View Police Department testified that Pumar's gray Audi A4 was traveling at least 46 mph at the time it hit Ware, and may have been going as fast as 62 mph -- after the car had jumped the curb of the sidewalk, had two of its tires ripped off, and plowed through a street sign. The posted speed limit on that particular stretch of California Street is 35 mph.

Comments

Posted by one, a resident of South of Midtown
on Oct 22, 2013 at 2:35 pm

[Post removed.]


Posted by Perkoy, a resident of Meadow Park
on Oct 22, 2013 at 2:56 pm

ONE year??? That is a mere slap on the hand for taking someone's life!


Posted by judge, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Oct 22, 2013 at 8:55 pm

[Post removed.]


Posted by resident, a resident of Community Center
on Oct 23, 2013 at 9:44 am

Local judges are way too lenient on reckless driving homicides. Unfortunately, 1 year is a common sentence for these killings, especially when the perp is rich and white.


Posted by resident, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Oct 23, 2013 at 10:49 am

Regardless of age, race, I think getting 1 year for taking someone else's life is just crazy! The 'killer' took away a valuable life, possibly destroyed a family, wife lost a husband, kids lost their dad...and the killer is only going to serve 1 year in prison!!!!!! What kind of judge is that?


Posted by Creole54, a resident of Midtown
on Oct 23, 2013 at 10:56 am

This is why there's so much anger, bitterness and hatred in the world. Money talks and it's so unfair to this human being that lost his life. Like most readers what about his life and the family he left behind. If this would have been a suspect of color Santa Clara County would have thrown the book at him. So much injustice in the world today that it is sicken.


Posted by Brian, a resident of Evergreen Park
on Oct 23, 2013 at 11:05 am

One year for taking a persons life even if it was an accident is ridiculous. I hope he is doing some other form of community service during his 3 year probation period. Incarceration does not serve the community. Unfortunately there aren't work programs where no violent offenders could pay back their debt to society.


Posted by CrescentParkAnon., a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 23, 2013 at 11:31 am

> He was convicted of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence on Sept. 12 in the death of William Ware.

One year for that? No wonder we get more and more people acting carelessly, there is no social feedback to avoid it. [Portion removed.] I only have to wonder what is Matthew Pumar's social connectedness and class. If this had been an kind of person from a different race or class, would we have the same outcome. I don't like this, I don't think it is enough.

I wonder if it has anything to do with the state and fullness of our prisons, and the drug war that has filled them and accomplished very little in terms of making any of us safer. When are we going to start acting logically and sensibly with reasonable principles of psychology & social science and law instead of reactively based on politics and expediency?


Posted by CrescentParkAnon., a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 23, 2013 at 11:39 am

The judge in this case was Judge Allison Danner. Does anyone know anything about her, how did she get appointed, and can she be voted out?

I'd really like to hear the reasoning for a sentence like this, and perhaps a comparison with other similar cases of her and other judges. I guess that is too much to ask for such a minor story that only involved one person's life.

I sure would hate for my life to be treated so trivially - if I am just standing on the sidewalk and some reckless idiot comes by and slams me into the concrete and kills me with their car.

Maybe we need some other kind of space for people who just cannot seem to handle the rules and consciousness of regular society. It would not have to be prison, but just some place where a lot of people like this can hang out and bang into each other - far enough away from where most of the rest of us who can handle the responsibilities of life can exist without them?


Posted by JustMe, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 23, 2013 at 12:34 pm

Actually, after some shock at seeing a 1-year sentence for killing someone with a recklessly stupid act, I can see it, conditionally. In fact, I might have let him off without any sentence at all. Instead, I would have forced him to support the family of the man he killed and see the kids through college. Oh, and a retirement fund for the wife would also be a great idea.

In "Unforgiven", Clint Eastwood said something along the line of "It's a hell of a thing, killing a man. You take away everything he has, and everything he was ever going to have." You also take away all those who depended on him were every going to get from him. The least you can do is replace some of that, as is possible.

Too steep a sentence? How steep was the sentence you stupidly passed on a man you did not even know when you killed him?


Posted by Perkoy, a resident of Meadow Park
on Oct 23, 2013 at 1:23 pm

The victim was sentenced to death, the family was sentenced to life without their father, husband, son, and all that it implies.

[Portion removed.]


Posted by neighbor, a resident of another community
on Oct 23, 2013 at 1:40 pm

Have any of the writers every driven while buzzed? Next time you've had a couple of drinks and get behind the wheel, remember the dead man's poor family....and please don't drive.


Posted by what??, a resident of Monroe Park
on Oct 23, 2013 at 3:01 pm

[Post removed.]


Posted by neighbor, a resident of South of Midtown
on Oct 23, 2013 at 5:18 pm

The story is incomplete; Pumar flattened a bike lane signpole (hollow), struck and killed Mr Ware, took out another signpole, the top off a water fixture, and three trees ~5inches diameter before coming to a halt ~150ft later. The victim landed nearby. This happened around 9:15am & Pumar was not drunk nor was he texting. He never apologized to the victim's family until Monday's sentencing hearing. The penalties for veh.manslaughter are fixed: probation, 2yrs, 4yrs, 6yrs. The DA's person asked for 4 yrs. Pumar had no criminal record, apparently a criterion for the max penalty of 6yrs. His family got to see the bailiff snap the handcuffs on him & lead him away. A terrible thing for all concerned. Three of the victim's family members testified scathingly on Monday, saying among a lot else, that Billy Ware, developmentally disabled, friendly, responsible, beloved in his community, was a better man than Pumar. Apparently Pumar's family, friends, & coworkers at his SF tech firm wrote a lot of letters to the judge but only his father testified Monday, also apologizing (for the first time). Pumar apparently thought he could get out of this completely & pled not guilty, even though in his statement he said "I floored it," thus putting the victim's family, who had already been through an extensive hearing, through the whole thing again, with all-too-graphic details. Then the defense atty had the nerve to ask for 2 weeks before the sentence began so Pumar could give notice rather than get fired; the judge turned that one down flat. She said something like it was surprising he didn't run over more people, and that she agreed with the jury's decision.


Posted by Idk, a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Oct 23, 2013 at 10:03 pm

According to the article, the guy could have been speeding only 11 miles over the speed limit. How many of us have floored it to get through a changing light? It seems like a terrible accident and it doesn't look like Pumar had a bad driving record. I feel awful for the victims family and friends, but maybe that jail cell would be better put to use by housing a real criminal? And how do we know he is rich and white and why should that matter? It is more important that he is young and stupid, but that is not a crime.


Posted by neighbor, a resident of South of Midtown
on Oct 24, 2013 at 2:15 pm

The actual speed at time of first impact (the curb, knocking out chunks of it) could not be determined, but at only 46 mph is it physically possible to take out 3 trees at the end of the trajectory (~100 ft), after already flattening or damaging 4 other objects? one of the witnesses said it was the fastest car he'd ever seen on California, where people habitually speed. He did run the red light: another witness, ready to cross California (the little white walking figure was displayed) had taken a couple steps out into the street & quickly stepped back when Pumar's Audi came zooming into the intersection.


Posted by Palo Alto Res, a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Oct 24, 2013 at 5:47 pm

There is Community Service for anyone who is on Probation from working in Public Libraries, Jails, Highway and Street clean up, City Halls, Police Departments, Waste and Garbage Facilities, etc.


Posted by Palo Alto Res, a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Oct 24, 2013 at 5:59 pm

@ JustMe

I like your opinion immensely! "I would have forced him to support the family of the man he killed and see the kids through college. Oh, and a retirement fund for the wife"

Great idea, the irresponsible driver, who will continue to drive(!) would need to support the children through high school, contribute to college funds for each immediately, contribute to the Spouses Retirement Fund, pay for a life insurance fund for the Spouse and have the funds invested and monitored by a Financial Advisor, who would be paid by the irresponsible driver. Yes, indeed, that would be fantastic!!! Please write the Judge and encourage this idea. The driver could be back in custody if he doesn't take his Probation Seriously!!! And then he could be resentenced.


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