DOVER, Del. — A Dover police officer has been indicted for manslaughter in connection to a chain-reaction crash nine months ago near Woodside that left a woman dead.
A grand jury last week indicted Frederick Pierce on charges of manslaughter, 3rd degree assault, speeding, and driving a motor vehicle while using a cellphone, according to court documents obtained by WBOC.
Pierce, who was off-duty at the time of the crash and driving his personal vehicle, is accused of recklessly causing the death of Catina Isaacs of Kenton on Sept. 7, 2018, and causing physical injury to Harry Lindale, a UPS driver whose truck was also involved in the incident.
Court documents say Pierce is charged with speeding at nearly 30 mph above the speed limit of 55 mph—at a rate of 84 mph—and also used his cellphone while behind the wheel of his 2018 Chevrolet Silverado.
State police said in a news release following the crash that Pierce was traveling southbound on U.S. Route 13 approaching the intersection of Walnut Shade Road when he “failed to observe traffic slowing/stopped in front of him and struck the Ford Flex in the rear.”
“The impact of the collision was so great that a chain-reaction crash occurred,” wrote Cpl. Melissa Jaffe, a Delaware State Police spokeswoman, in the release.
The crash forced Isaac’s SUV into the UPS truck in front of her, which then hit a 2008 Chevrolet Silverado, which then hit a Buick Envision, according to state police.
Isaacs, then 44 years old, was pronounced dead at the scene.
Cpl. Mark Hoffman, a Dover Police Department spokesman, said Pierce had been placed on administrative leave without pay this week.
Prior to the indictment, Hoffman said Pierce had been on administrative leave and collecting a paycheck over the roughly nine months since the crash.
“As per Delaware law, the department cannot comment any further, including any additional personnel matters or potential internal investigation that may stem from this incident,” he said.
Dover attorney Jim Ligouri, who is representing Isaacs’ estate, declined comment.
Pierce’s attorney, Scott Wilson, called the crash a “tragic accident” but said Pierce had been “grossly overcharged compared to other vehicular accidents involving death.”
In response to an inquiry about the length of time between the crash and Pierce’s indictment, Carl Kanefsky, a spokesman for the Delaware Department of Justice, said investigators often attempt to be as thorough as possible in cases involving fatal traffic collisions.
“It is important that an investigation into a fatal crash be thorough and complete so a proper conclusion may be made, and that requires gathering and assessing as much information as possible,” he said.