Mountain View Voice

News - September 6, 2013

Pumar's trial set to begin

Man accused of 'gross negligence' in death of William Ware to face jury

by Nick Veronin

A jury has been selected and the trial of Matthew Pumar — the man accused of felony vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence in the death of William Ware — is scheduled to begin today, Sept. 6, according to the deputy district attorney prosecuting the case. Pumar has pleaded not guilty.

It's been more than a year since the well-known Mountain View man was struck and killed by an out-of-control car as he waited to catch the bus near the intersection of California Street and Escuela Avenue.

A judge on Jan. 3 ruled there was sufficient evidence to try Pumar, the man behind the wheel. But the trial was continually pushed back for a variety of reasons — including a request by the defense attorney for more time, other cases on the calendar, and the changing availability of witnesses.

According to a Mountain View Police Department investigation, at around 9:30 a.m. on June 21, 2012, Pumar sped through a red light, swerved to avoid a truck entering the intersection, lost control of his car, and struck Ware, who was killed by the violent impact of the collision.

During the preliminary hearing, Pumar's defense team sought to show that Pumar was not speeding or driving recklessly in the run-up to the crash. Pumar's lawyer, Dennis Smith, argued that the Mountain View resident had not run a red light, but had squeezed through a yellow light while driving at a reasonable speed on California Avenue.

Whichever version of events is true, Pumar ended up losing control of his car, which careered onto the sidewalk in the 1800 block of California Street and struck Ware, who was killed instantly.

Ware's brother, Jim, said he is pleased that the trial will finally begin.

"As family members of the victim in this case, it has been quite frustrating to make plans to be in court for the trial only to have the case continued again and again," he wrote in an email to the Voice. "Every time a court date approaches, we have to prepare ourselves emotionally ... to relive this horrific event, only to be sent home for another month or more."

In a conversation with the Voice he added that he wants to be able to put the tragedy in the past and stop worrying about upcoming court dates. "You want to go forward," he said.

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