16 Jul 2020
The driver who is waiting to be tried in a case of second-degree murder after he struck and killed a 15-year-old student getting off a school bus Kayenta in 2017 is still waiting for officials to decide whether he is competent enough to be put on trial.
The Navajo Times reports that Peter Lee Charley was charged for his role in the death of McKenzie Tsosie after he allegedly hit her with his vehicle while she was getting off a school bus on the evening of October 31st of 2017.
Court records indicate that rather than stopping for the school bus that had its lights and signs engaged, Charley, who was traveling at a high rate of speed went around the bus, striking and killing Tsosie. Charley did not stop after hitting the teen.
The driver of the school bus and others witnessed the incident. The bus driver also happened to be McKenzie Tsosie’s father.
Arizona State Police Officer, Sgt. Bob Martin, who had just finished his shift, was also an eyewitness to the fatal crash. He pursued Charley and pulled him over approximately two miles from the scene. Also inside Charley’s vehicle was a female passenger.
Martin indicated that the car smelled strongly of alcohol and that Charley’s zipper was undone and his genitals were exposed. A Breathalyzer test at the scene determined that Charley had a blood alcohol level of 0.15 at the time – nearly twice the legal limit of 0.08.
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Three psychologists were asked by the court to determine whether Charley, who is deaf, was competent to stand trial for the charges against him. All three determined that he was not competent, but all were also reluctant to issue the conclusion due to a lack of information about how Charley was able to deal with his disabilities throughout his life and before the accident.
While the battle continues based on whether Charley can perform daily tasks, learn and retain information, prosecutors are requesting the judge determine Charley’s fitness for trial in the case.