Jury se­lec­tion starts in trial of driver in fa­tal crash here


De­pend­ing on how much longer jury se­lec­tion was go­ing to take, open­ing state­ments in the trial of the man charged in con­nec­tion to a fa­tal col­li­sion that hap­pened last year near Somer­ton could be de­liv­ered some­time on Thurs­day.

Jury se­lec­tion be­gan Tues­day morn­ing in the trial of Jose Luis Tapia-Fierro, who has been charged with sec­ond-de­gree mur­der as a re­sult of the March 2017 crash, which hap­pened in the area of County 14th Street and Av­enue G.

The trial, which is ex­pected to con­clude on Fri­day, is be­fore Su­pe­rior Court Judge David Haws. Tapia-Fierro is be­ing rep­re­sented by at­tor­ney Jerry Her­nan­dez, of the Yuma County Pub­lic De­fender’s Of­fice.

If he is found guilty of the sec­ond-de­gree mur­der charge, Tapi­aFierro is fac­ing a min­i­mum of 10 years in prison, with the pre­sump­tive sentence be­ing 16 years, and the max­i­mum be­ing 22 years. But there also the pos­si­bil­ity that he could be con­victed of a lesser-in­cluded of­fense.

Ac­cord­ing to the Yuma County Sher­iff’s Of­fice, at ap­prox­i­mately 3:10 a.m. on March 31, 2017, the sher­iff’s of­fice re­ceived a re­port of a ve­hi­cle col­li­sion in the area of County 14th Street and Av­enue G, near Somer­ton, and deputies re­sponded to the area.

The ini­tial in­ves­ti­ga­tion re­vealed that a blue 1998 Ford van was north­bound on Av­enue G when the ve­hi­cle was struck by a black 2012 Nis­san pickup trav­el­ing west­bound on County 14th Street.

The Nis­san pickup had failed to stop at the posted stop sign on County 14th Street and Av­enue G. The driver of the Ford van was pro­nounced deed at the scene.

The driver of the Nis­san pickup, Tapia-Fierro was trans­ported to Yuma Re­gional Med­i­cal Cen­ter for non-life threat­en­ing in­juries.

Tapia-Fierro was later taken into cus­tody and was booked into the Yuma County De­ten­tion Cen­ter on charges of 2nd De­gree Mur­der with a $250,000 cash-only bond.

James Gil­bert can be reached at jgilbert@yu­masun. com or 539-6854. Find him on Face­book at www. Face­book.com/YSJamesGilbert or on Twit­ter @ YSJamesGilbert.


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