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.
JOSE LUIS TAPIA-FIERRO