Pima County Superior Court Judge Rules in Defendant’s Favor, Car Crash Case Goes Back to Grand Jury

A man driving a Nissan Altima killed a woman sitting in a police car in 2009.A judge presiding over a court case involving a Tucson man who was formerly indicted in connection with the death of a woman sitting in the back of an Arizona state trooper's car ruled the case must be brought to another grand jury.

The Tucson man, Robert Gallivan, was involved in a car accident that occurred in the early morning of June 3, 2009. On that day, two officers from the Arizona Department of Public Safety reportedly pulled over a 45-year-old woman, Faith Mascolino. She was suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol, and after performing a field sobriety test, she was placed in the back of one of the officer's cruisers, according to The Arizona Daily Star.

With Mascolino sitting in the back of one of the cars, the officers reportedly proceeded to call her daughter. When they were on the phone with Mascolino's daughter, reports indicate the police officers viewed a Nissan Altima speeding directly toward them.

In an effort to avoid being hit by the car, the officers reportedly jumped over a guardrail. They avoided injury, but the Nissan reportedly crashed into the cruiser Mascolino was sitting in. The police cruiser burst into flames, and Mascolino died as a result of injuries sustained via the crash and the ensuing fire, according to DPS records.

Gallivan was driving the Altima, but tests revealed he was not under the influence of any illicit drugs or alcohol at the time of the crash. Doctors did find, however, that he had an antipsychotic medication in his system at the time of the alleged incident.

What's more, he sustained significant injuries during the car crash, according to The Daily Star. Gallivan had a broken ankle as a result of the crash, as well as a ruptured bowel. Doctors put him into a medically induced coma at one point during the course of his treatment because of the severity of his injuries.

In January of 2010, following Gallivan's recovery from his near fatal injuries, he was charged in connection to Mescolino's death. Prosecutors treated Gallivan unfairly during the trial, his defense attorney argued. The attorney said the grand jury was misled by an accident reconstructionist.

The reconstructionist reportedly told the grand jurors Gallivan was traveling between 112 miles per hour and 116 miles per hour at the time of the crash. The speed limit on the roadway where the incident allegedly took place, Interstate 10 near West Orange Grove Road, is 65 miles per hour.

The attorney asserted the grand jurors were not informed that the DPS officers who protected themselves by jumping over the guardrail both estimated Gallivan had been traveling at a much slower rate. The officers reportedly believed Gallivan was driving between 60 miles per hour and 70 miles per hour.

The grand jurors had previously indicted Gallivan in connection with Mescolino's death, but as a result of the defense attorney's contention, Gallivan now will face another grand jury.

Pima County Superior Court Judge Richard Fields announced on Monday, September 19, that as a result of the persecutors' failure to provide such information, the Pima County Attorney's Office must take its case against Gallivan to another grand jury.

Moreover, he granted permission to the Deputy Pima County Attorney to have access to Gallivan's phone records. This will enable prosecutors to ascertain whether he had been texting in the minutes before and after the crash, according to The Daily Star. Authorities reportedly have said he was not talking on the phone at the time of the crash.