The Utah Court of Appeals has declined to hear the case of a Taylorsville police officer charged with misdemeanor negligent homicide in the traffic accident death of another motorist.

Officer Joseph James Corbett was charged in connection with the Feb. 7, 2007, crash at the intersection of 4700 South and Redwood Road at 12:40 a.m. with 27-year-old John Douglas of Tooele. Douglas was killed in the accident.

Corbett was driving with his overhead lights and sirens on, according to prosecutors. The defense contended Douglas was text messaging while driving and had the painkiller Tramadol in his system.

Prosecutors claimed Corbett wasn't following the accepted standard for emergency driving in Utah when he crashed. But defense attorney Ed Brass argued a uniform emergency driving policy has yet to be established by the Utah Department of Public Safety. Because of that, Brass questioned whether that meant all emergency responders in the state were subject to possible unfair criminal and civil liability.

After 3rd District Judge Robert Adkins denied Brass' motion in July to dismiss the case, Brass made a request for interlocutory appeal. The court concurred it was a difficult issue and actually said it hoped the appeals court would take the case to clear up some questions.

With the appeal court's refusal to hear the case, it's likely a new trial date for Corbett will be set soon in district court. As of Friday afternoon, there was no word on when Corbett's next court date would be.


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