Prince George’s officer should not have used lights, siren at time of fatal crash, police say

A Prince George’s County police officer who struck and killed the driver of another vehicle last month in Bowie should not have been driving with his lights on and sirens flashing at the time of the crash, officials say.

Cpl. Michael Mogavero, a member of a special unit tasked with investigating police officers’ car accidents, was on his way to the scene of a minor accident involving a fellow county officer in Oxon Hill, when he hit the driver’s side of a car driven by James D. Toliver, 32, of Upper Marlboro.

“This non-life threatening collision didn’t warrant a priority response,” department spokeswoman Julie Parker said of the Oxon Hill crash.

A woman who answered the phone Wednesday at Mogavero’s home in Bowie said the officer had no comment.

Prince George’s police have said they believe Mogavero was traveling with his lights on, but they have not yet said how fast Mogavero was traveling, or which driver had the green light near 3 a.m. at the intersection of Route 197 and London Lane, just north of Route 50. Family members of Toliver, who worked at a local phone store, said he was working a second job delivering newspapers when the crash occurred.

Generally, when police approach an intersection with lights and sirens on, they are responsible for making sure the coast is clear before proceeding.

County police say the investigation into the crash was slowed because technicians have had trouble retrieving video from Mogavero’s dashboard camera that should have been activated when he turned on his lights and siren.

Officers familiar with the investigation said the camera unit has been removed from the vehicle and shipped to the manufacturer.

Aaron Davis covers D.C. government and politics for The Post and wants to hear your story about how D.C. works — or how it doesn’t.
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