City Attorney: Charges not anticipated for officer involved in deadly Norfolk accident

Posted at 7:04 PM, Nov 21, 2016

NORFOLK, Va. - A family is furious about the lack of information they are getting about their loved ones death, according to the family’s attorney.

79-year-old Robert Crittsinger died when his car collided with a Norfolk Police officer's vehicle six months ago.

A Norfolk police officer was responding to the report of a shooting last May but before he could get there he collided with a car on Hampton Blvd., near ODU.

"It's been over six months and we want to know the details," said Gary Byler, the family attorney.

Court records state the officer was going 76 miles an hour in a 35 mile an hour zone.

The Commonwealth’s Attorney has not announced if any criminal charges will be filed, but News 3 learned from the city attorney that no criminal charges are anticipated.

Through email – the city attorney says Crittsinger failed to see and yield to the officer who had his emergency warning devices activated.  It states the officer was seriously injured in the crash and there was no police video recorded.

According to the city attorney there is a home video camera which was recording in the area however, it didn’t capture the actual crash.

Byler said he is frustrated by what he says is a lack of information from city officials.

Byler said the family is looking for more information about want happened the night Crittsinger died and what led up to the crash.  It said the lack of information being provided is unacceptable.

"We formally requested this information.  We've been stonewalled. At this point after six months the families can be forced to file litigation to get answers to most basic questions as to how their loved one died that night," said Byler.

In a letter sent to Byler – the city said they will provide more information about what happened once the Commonwealth’s Attorney formerly announced that no charges will be filed.

That office says they are close to a decision.

"The role of this Office in this matter is to conduct a legal review to determine whether a criminal charge should be initiated. Our legal review is nearing an end and when appropriate our Office will inform the involved parties, including the Norfolk Police Department and the Crittsinger family, of our decision.
In each legal review we conduct, especially of matters involving the loss of life, being thorough is an important part of our work and each matter is unique; therefore, setting a timetable for a legal review decision isn’t appropriate. During this process, we’re certainly mindful of the interests and needs of family members who’ve lost loved ones and we appreciate the waiting can be difficult for them."

Below in part is the response News 3 got from the City Attorney:

"Mr. Crittsinger was the elderly gentleman who failed to see and yield to a police car on Hampton Boulevard. The police car had activated its emergency warning devices and in route to investigate a report of a gun fired on Graydon Avenue. Mr. Crittsinger did not survive the collision and the officer was seriously injured. The crash was not recorded by police video. Something like a home video camera was recording in the area and Mr. Byler has been invited to review it. Every request made by Mr. Byler has received a response. The council has not been provided the one video that exists."