Driver Admits Role in Deputy's Death

Deputy Ken Collier, 39, died after his patrol car crashed into a bridge abutment

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    Derek Togerson

    A man who was leading law enforcement on a chase in February, when a deputy's patrol car went of the road and plunged into a ravine, changed his plea on Tuesday.

    Deputy Ken Collier, 39, died after his car crashed into a bridge abutment and rolled hundreds of feet down a freeway embankment.

    Jose Pedro Lopez Jasso, 23, pleaded guilty Tuesday to gross vehicular manslaughter and other charges. Jasso was drunk and high on marijuana when he drove on the wrong way of state Route 52 on Feb. 28, prosecutors alleged at his arraignment.

    Collier chased after the suspect, heading west on SR-52 and using the shoulder for as far as he could before the shoulder ran out and the deputy’s car plunged 400-500 feet into a ravine. When deputies arrived, the car was on fire on the embankment between Mast Boulevard and Santo Road.

    Remembering a Fallen Deputy

    [DGO] Remembering a Fallen Deputy
    Hundreds gather to honor Ken Collier, killed in a pursuit crash.

    After an extremely difficult rescue effort, Collier was responsive but seriously injured. He was taken to Sharp Memorial Hospital, where he later died.

    Jasso faces up to 11 years and eight months in prison.