Investigation: Cop cleared in woman’s death

A special prosecutor finds that Albemarle police Sergeant Pamela Greenwood did not violate any laws in the death of pedestrian Jesus Tolentino Dominguez two months ago. She will not face criminal charges.

Fluvanna Commonwealth's Attorney Jeff Haislip, left, oversaw the investigation that cleared Greenwood, who had been on administrative leave and just returned to work a week ago.

Greenwood was traveling north on Hydraulic Road in a police SUV at 9:50pm June 27 when she struck Dominguez about 50 feet past the intersection of Earlysville Road, Haislip said. Greenwood had slowed at the intersection and was going an estimated 30 to 33 mph when Dominguez, who had already crossed three lanes coming from the Rock Store, stepped into her path.

The vehicle swerved to the right and hit Dominguez with the driver's side of the car and side mirror. "Her injuries were significant, with numerous lacerations to the liver and numerous broken bones," Haislip said at a press conference at the Albemarle County police department.

He found that Greenwood was not on a cell phone or radio, but that Dominguez was, and that distraction was a factor in the accident. Witnesses said Dominguez, 62, had been on the phone when she walked over to the Rock Store, and was still talking when she crossed back over.

"She was talking on the cell phone held to her right ear, which obstructed her view," said Haislip.

Another contributing factor was that Dominguez was wearing black clothing and was not crossing at the intersection, Haislip reported.

After the accident, Greenwood called for assistance and attempted first aid. The camera in the police car comes on only when the blue lights are activated, and it captured Greenwood reporting the accident but not the incident itself.

Dominguez was a native of El Salvador, and it took police a half day to figure out who she was. "We couldn't positively identify her from her [passport] photo because of her injuries and swelling," said Trooper Kevin Frazier with the Virginia State Police. Once she was identified from fingerprints, the El Salvadoran embassy was notified, and police contacted her family.

Local churches raised $2,800 to send Dominguez's body back to El Salvador. Because Albemarle was not found at fault, paying to send her remains home "would not be an appropriate use of public funds," said police Chief John Miller. He said he has requested donations from a police foundation.

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15 comments

To "Second Guess'Em All"...I'm "second-guess"-ing your ability to think like anything other than a conspiracy theorist who has nothing more to do with their time than watch internet porn and dust the abnormily high number of pictures of you have of both your mother and Star Trek characters. Did you get that Spock autograph you've been dreaming about since you hit puberty and none of the girls would talk to you? Please...where are you getting this keys-in-the-car commentary? Have a scanner? Blowing somebody with a badge? Either way, you need to come up with a better 'retort' to what is a terribly tragic event. One person's life is over, and another has to live the rest of theirs knowing they were a part of it...an innocent part of it. Were you part of the investigtion? Were you on the scene? Doubtful. Quick question...how much pot did you smoke in college, and how many beers did you sneak out of momma's liquer cabinet before you were called on the carpet? Probably by a "distracted" cop who had nothing better to do than look out for your best interest.

Girls, girls girls, blogging at 127 and 143 am, what did I tell you about drunken blogging. Were you gals drinking/blogging together? 2nd has a great point. Drive around the county and count how many cops have phones at there ears. Where do they get their cell plans? They should hang up and enforce the laws, such as running red lights on 29.

Muffin? Jamaica? Star Trek? Odd assortment¢Ã¢â??¬Š.. Funny thing, I saw on Chanel 29 ( which is just awful by the way) an officer talking about traffic on RT 29 and how people should pay more attention to the road ie: Stay off cell phones. Dear God, look within your department first and begin to model the type of behavior you want to see.

Now there's breaking news: local prosecutor clears local cop of wrongdoing. Dog bites man. Film at 11.

I sometimes think we were better off without cell phones. People seem completely incapable these days of doing anything without talking on the phone. In the past two days I've been nearly hit by a car (when I was in a crosswalk during the day) by a driver on a cell phone, and I've had Chinese delivered to me by someone who couldn't be bothered to hang up her phone long enough to have me sign the receipt and thank me. (I really regret giving her a 30 percent tip.) It's also been stated that the mother whose baby died in the hot car earlier this year was carrying on a cell phone conversation while driving to work, which is how she forgot the baby was in the car.
What exactly do we have to say that can't wait 20 minutes until we're not driving, interacting with others, or crossing the street at night? Are Americans so ADD that we can't handle somewhat boring tasks like driving or crossing the street without a conversation to entertain us?

Mega, thia and many other "accidents" are far too often blamed on the use of cell phones. I'm almost sure the investigation of this death didn't uncover the fact that the officer involved could never keep her mind on what she was doing long enough to keep from locking the keys to her patrol car in the car on ~~~NUMEROUS~~~ occasions. It had gone way beyond comical listening to this particular officer calling in to say that she had once again locked the keys in her patrol car.

Sergeant Pamela Greenwood killed Jesus? I thought the Jews killed Jesus.

Second guess 'em, I don't know exactly what happened, so I don't know if Sgt. Greenwood could have prevented the accident. Perhaps she, too, was distracted. However, afterwards witnesses were quoted in the media saying that Ms. Dominguez was on a cell phone and did not look before she crossed the street. I don't know if she would have looked if she hadn't been on a cell phone, so yes, maybe I am erroneously blaming the cell phone - but let's not forget that pedestrians also are responsible for their safety.

Megan, you only see and hear what the police and media want you to see and hear. I vividly recall a case a few years back where magical "witnesses" claimed no wrongdoing in a critical police incident. But the witness who did observe first hand and verified the police had endangered a 4-year-old child's life for an estimated 30 to 45 minutes was never quoted by the media or any other source.

I can tell you yet another observation I have made recently in about 85% to 90% of all instances...... I very seldom ever pass a police car going in either direction where the driver isn't on a cell phone. And just like any other human being, there's some that can't chew bubble gum and drive at the same time. Much less talk on a cell phone and drive at the same time.

Second Guess: I'm with you - you almost never see a County cop these days cruising around without a cell phone stuck to his or her face. It amazes me to no end that they don't at least use hands-free devices. I guess it's only dangerous to talk on a cell phone while driving when you aren't a cop. Just like it's dangerous to speed when you aren't a cop. And dangerous to hit pedestrians or cause motor vehicle accidents when you aren't a cop.

Easy muffin...you seem to be a little heated. So, you never talk and drive? Ever?
Oh, I blog by myself. I don't need a blogging buddy, but maybe I should get one.
Aren't we all hypocrites in some way? I haven't met a human being that isn't a hypocrite at some point in time.
Maybe you should have a cocktail and think of Jamaica before you blog again. How are your star treck figures?

If you were to read more deeply into my post you will see that I agree with the decision not to bring charges as the cop did nothing wrong. I was referring to the bigger picture of distraction caused by cell phones. It can turn a regular action into a dangerous one¢Ã¢â??¬Š.. Such as driving or crossing a street. The ACPD did nothing wrong and to avoid being hypocrites they should put their damn phones down while driving.

Kathy,
Love your reply...I think I will pass it on to the police department to enforce more traffic laws. Also, the woman that died was on HER cell phone not the cop. Does anyone care about the woman who was killed or just cell phones. How 'bout keeping her and her family in your thoughts.

Why don't you take a more productive route to create change rather than blog. Call the county Chief of police and tell him your concerns. Have you heard of a cop getting in an accident b/c they were on their cell phone? Please educate me.
I see them all the time on their phones but apparently most can talk on the phone and drive
at the same time. I agree 29 is awful...

Hey scanner boy or girl or whatever...get a life! and if you are going to blog stick to the point. Its about an accident not about cell phones. What are the facts? Hmmm...The State Police investigated the accident, found the speed to be below the speed limit and found that the officer was not DISTRACTED. What you do have is an unfortunate accident. A woman on a cell phone walking across a very dark roadway with a cell phone pasted to the side of her head. What happened is a tragic accident in which one family is left to mourn the loss of their mother, and
another unlucky or "unblessed" person to deal with this woman hitting her car.