Dover officer charged with manslaughter in 2018 crash

DOVER — A Dover Police officer was indicted on criminal charges last week in connection with a five-vehicle crash last year that left a 44-year-old Kenton woman dead and two others injured, authorities confirmed Wednesday.

According to Delaware State Police, Frederick J. Pierce, 29, of Magnolia, caused a chain-reaction crash on Sept. 8, 2018, when his 2018 Chevrolet Silverado struck a 2009 Ford Flex that was stopped/slowing in front of him.

The impact pushed a Ford Flex into the rear of a 2012 UPS truck, which then hit a 2008 Silverado that was pushed into the back of a 2017 Buick Envision.

Catina Isaacs, who was driving the Ford Flex, was pronounced dead at the scene. Two other drivers suffered non-life threatening injuries.

Charges filed June 4 include manslaughter, third-degree assault, speeding and second offense using an electronic device while operating a motor vehicle.

Mr. Pierce entered a not guilty plea.

After a court appearance Mr. Pierce was released on $30,200 unsecured bail. A case review is scheduled for Aug. 29.

Deputy Attorney General Barzilai is the assigned prosecutor. The Attorney Generals Office declined comment Wednesday.

Attorney Scott Wilson, who represents Mr. Pierce, said, “Fred is extremely remorseful for this and there’s no disputing he caused the accident. He accepts responsibility for that.

“However this is a traffic accident that is grossly overcharged since a statute enacted for death by motor vehicle by legislators was intended to cover a situation where it was an accident.

“This is simple negligence not criminal negligence. Not only did they jump over simple negligence, they jumped over criminal negligence to recklessness.

“In light of other cases, I believe he’s being over-charged simply because he’s a police officer and being held to a higher standard because of that.

“Legally there’s no higher standard based for that based on your profession, there’s only a reasonable person standard.”

Deputy Attorney General Barzilai is the assigned prosecutor.

Attorney James E. Liguori, who represents the Ms. Issacs’ estate, said a civil lawsuit has been filed in the matter. Ms. Issacs worked at the Liguori & Morris law firm for more than two years, but was not employed there when she died. Mr. Liguori declined comment Wednesday.

Incident detailed
The incident occurred at approximately 5:44 p.m. on U.S. 13 approaching Walnut Shade Road DSP spokeswoman Master Cpl. Melissa Jaffe said at the time.

The Ford Flex was slowing in heavy traffic with a nearly half mile backup when struck by Mr. Pierce’s vehicle, investigation determined.

All vehicles were traveling southbound in the left lane of U.S. 13, police said.

Police said Mr. Pierce and Ms. Isaacs were not wearing seatbelts at the time of impact. Impairment wasn’t believed to be a factor on behalf of any of the drivers involved, authorities said.

Mr. Pierce is a Dover PD Patrolman First Class who was hired on March 9, 2015.

He was first placed on administrative leave with pay om Sept. 10, 2018, as DSP investigated and then moved to administrative leave without pay effective June 6, this year.

“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,” Cpl. Hoffman said.

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