Mom: Deputy who hit, killed boy was going 66 mph

Kalamazoo and Battle Creek

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (WOOD) — Michigan State Police say the deputy who hit and killed a boy was driving nearly twice the posted speed limit, according to the boy’s family.

In May, 11-year-old Norman Hood died after he was hit by a Calhoun County Sheriff’s deputy headed to a report of a break-in in progress.

Christina Valadez, Norman’s mother, said Michigan State Police troopers investigating the crash revealed to her that the deputy was traveling at 66 mph. In that area, the speed limit is 35 mph.

Michigan State Police would not comment on the deputy’s speed but did not dispute what Valadez stated.

Calhoun County Sheriff Matt Saxton said the deputy had not activated his lights or siren when the crash happened on Michigan Avenue near Lenon Street in Battle Creek.

Norman was riding a miniature motorized bike known as a “pocket bike” at the time of the crash, Saxton reported.

“I want him prosecuted for killing my son… I just don’t see how he can’t be,” Valadez told News 8. “He wasn’t paying attention to the road. If he was, he wouldn’t have hit my son.”

Valadez said she is growing impatient with the investigative process that has now gone on more than two months.

Because of a potential conflict of interest, the case has been turned over to a special prosecutor from Jackson County, who will determine if the deputy will be charged criminally.

“The case is still under review,” Jackson County Prosecutor Jerard Jarzynka told News 8 Wednesday. “We’re going to give it serious attention.”

Jarzynka said his office received the request to take the case in July from the state attorney general’s office.

Jarzynka said the fact that a deputy was involved will have little bearing on his office’s decision.

“You have to follow the same guidelines,” he said. “The standard is going to be the same.”

While the crash investigation continues, Norman’s family has already begun the process of seeking justice through a civil lawsuit.

The family is now being represented by an attorney with Geoffrey Fieger’s office and has filed a lawsuit seeking money damages in excess of $25 million.

“If [the deputy] wouldn’t have been going 66 miles an hour my son would be alive,” Valadez said.

Saxton said he continues to wait for the investigative reports before concluding his department’s internal investigation.

He said preliminary paperwork filed on the crash cited hazardous actions on the part of both the deputy involved and Norman.

Saxton said the officer remained on paid administrative leave pending a decision from the prosecutor’s office.

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