Sgt. Simpson's accused killer to stand trial

March 31, 2009 1:38:36 PM PDT
A preliminary hearing was held today for William Foster - the Bucks County man accused of killing a Philadelphia police sergeant. Police say Foster slammed his vehicle into a police patrol car on November 17th of last year. Sergeant Timothy Simpson was inside it and later died at the hospital.

Prosecutors made their case this morning for why Foster should have never been on the road in the first place.

The Preliminary hearing wrapped up around 11:15, and as a result Foster, 41, will be held for trial. He is charged with Vehicular Homicide and other offenses.

Police say on the night of November 17th Foster broadsided Sergeant Timothy Simpson's patrol car.

Foster was initially charged with Driving Under the Influence, but that charge was dismissed because there were only trace amounts of drugs in his system and no alcohol.

The courtroom today was filled with Philadelphia Police officers, including Sergeant Simpson's brother, Terry, who is also a police officer.

Another police officer and a SEPTA bus driver testified today that Foster was trying to elude police the night Simpson was killed - running several stop lights before he slammed into the patrol car at an intersection.

"The police officer's lights and sirens were on, and the bus driver's testimony was clearly that he was pulling away from the police officers. So, he was aware that they were behind him," said Assistant District Attorney Gail Fairman.

But the defense argued that Foster did not know cops were trying to pull him over and asked the judge to throw out the 3rd degree murder charge.

"What we have out here is an awful accident, but the bottom line is it's an accident he's clearly responsible for, but it's the murder and the aggravated assault we clearly don't think lie here," said defense attornedy Dan Stevenson.

According to the prosecution, Foster was driving a stolen car and had three bags of heroin on him.

Foster has a lengthy arrest record for drugs and other charges.

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey told reporters, "I think it just goes without saying, it's not just violent crime. It's just the disregard for law in general on the part of some people. And it's just very unfortunate that someone had to die before it really came to the attention of the courts to the point where something's (going to) be done about it now."

Foster will be arraigned on April 21st.

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