BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (WOOD) — No criminal charges will be filed against the Calhoun County sheriff’s deputy who hit and killed a child riding a miniature motorized bike.
The special prosecutor appointed to the case confirmed the deputy was not using his lights and sirens at the time and was traveling 66 miles per hour in an area with a speed limit of 30 miles per hour.
Jackson County Prosecutor Jerard Jarzynka took on the case to avoid any conflicts of interest. He said Monday his office decided not to file charges against the officer.
“Under Michigan law, a police officer can exceed the speed limit,” Jarzynka told News 8. “This is a tragic accident.”
Jarzynka said Michigan law provides exceptions to whether the officer must use their emergency lights or siren.
“It’s not absolutely required,” he said.
Dash camera video capturing the crash also weighed in on the prosecutor’s decision.
Jarzynka said the video shows a “graphic depiction” of what occurred. He said Norman is seen riding the pocket bike wearing dark-colored clothing before abruptly making a sharp turn in front of the deputy.
“His actions of doing that certainly resulted in this collision,” Jarzynka said. “Suddenly he’s just coming out of nowhere.”
Norman’s mother, Christina Valadez, disputes the prosecutor’s description. She said she’s seen the dash cam video.
“He merges from one lane to the next,” Valadez said. “He does not make no dramatic turn in front of the officer.”
Valadez said she learned about the charging decision Monday morning.
“I’m a mess,” she said. “I’ve been a mess, crying all day.”
“They’re saying it’s OK… It’s OK you were speeding,” Valadez said. “Sixty-six miles an hour, really?”
Norman’s family is working with the law offices of Geoffrey Fieger in pursuing civil damages.
The name of the deputy who hit Norman has not been released publicly. He had been placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.
Calhoun County Sheriff Matt Saxton was not immediately available to comment on the prosecutor’s decision and the impact it will have on the officer’s status and the department’s internal investigation.