Denver, CO – A Denver police officer is facing up to three years in prison for a crash that occurred while he was pursuing a wrong-way driver.
The incident began just before 3 a.m. on April 13 as Denver Police Department (DPD) Officer Jacob Marsh was trying to stop a vehicle that was traveling in the wrong direction in the 4800-block of North Quebec Street, KCNC reported.
The suspect was in the number two lane and Officer Marsh was driving his unmarked patrol vehicle in the number one lane when they encountered a third vehicle driving the correct direction, police said.
The suspect vehicle was able to avoid hitting the third vehicle, but the patrol vehicle crashed into the third vehicle head-on, KCNC reported.
Investigators said the patrol car’s airbag restraint control module revealed Officer Marsh had been traveling 51 miles per hour in the 45-mile-per-hour zone at the time of the collision.
He was traveling 75 miles per hour five seconds before the crash, according to the module data.
The suspect he was chasing ended up escaping, KCNC reported.
The driver of the vehicle Officer Marsh hit suffered a proximal tibial fracture to his right leg in the crash and underwent surgery, according to the news outlet.
Officer Marsh, 38, suffered a broken hand, KDVR reported.
He was arrested for an investigative hold for felony vehicular assault on April 27, according to the news outlet.
Officer Marsh faces a sentence ranging from probation to three years in prison if he is convicted.
The driver he collided with said Officer Marsh was just trying to his job and that he doesn’t want to see him fired from the force.
“I have no ill will towards the guy…Whether it was the correct way or the wrong way, I still believe he was doing his job,” Christopher Cordova told KDVR. “Do I think the gentleman needs to lose his job over this situation? I don’t.”
Cordova said he considers the crash to have been an accident and that he hopes knowing Cordova’s position on the matter helps the veteran officer’s healing process.
“If you can’t forgive, you can’t move on and you can’t grow, that’s my belief,” Cordova told KDVR. “I think that we learn from our mistakes. We teach others about our mistakes and we move on that’s what I truly believe…In the long run to be to totally honest, I’m glad it was me and nobody else.”
Officer Marsh is currently on unpaid leave as a result of the incident, KDVR reported.
He was given a personal recognizance bond of $50,000 during a court hearing on Wednesday, according to KUSA.
Officer Marsh also faces a potential internal investigation which would determine whether or not he had permission to engage in the pursuit, KDVR reported.