9 On Your Side Wants to Know
Case dropped against driver who smashed DPS car, killing woman
Mother of 5 died while being held in backseat of patrol car
Reporter: Claire Doan
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) – The Tucson man who crashed into a patrol car, causing it to catch on fire and kill a Marana mother of five, will not face any criminal charges.
A judge dismissed the case against 30-year-old Robert Gallivan, at the request of the Pima County Attorneys Office.
Back in 2009, a fiery wreck in Interstate 10 near West Orange Grove killed 45-year-old Faith Mascolino. Gallivan crashed into the patrol cruiser with Mascolino in the backseat that officers held for possible drunk driving.
Michael Bloom, Gallivan’s defense attorney, maintained that he did not do anything criminal.
“Robert was not on the phone talking. There’s no evidence that he was impaired by any type of drug or intoxicant of any kind,” Bloom told 9 On Your Side.
KGUN9 News asked the Pima County Attorneys Office why the case was dismissed after months of evidence gathering.
“Evidence as a whole – taken together – simply in our opinion wasn’t going to be proof beyond a reasonable doubt,” said Chief Criminal Deputy Kellie Johnson. “There has to be proof of a criminal state and there has to be proof of some kind of criminal intent via recklessness and criminal negligence.”
An accident reconstructionist said Gallivan was going over 112 miles per hour. However, both of the offers at the scene – who jumped over the guardrail to avoid being hit by Gallivan’s vehicle – estimated a much slower speed, which isn't subject to manslaughter charges.
“The most reliable testimony was the of the two offices, who both independently estimated the vehicle’s speed at 60 to 70 miles per hour,” said Ron Mercaldo, attorney for the Mascolino family.
He said Mascolino’s children understand why the county decided to drop the charges, although they continue to have a hard time coping with her death.
“They’ve been in counseling. The children of course miss their mom, as you would expect, and she was also a source of support for them,” Mercaldo said.
Mercaldo said Mascolino was in a dangerous spot – on a hill, with a narrow shoulder, left the backseat of what’s considered a “target car.”
With the criminal case over, Gallivan will have to provide testimony for the civil cases the Mascolino family is bringing against him and against DPS.
“This is probably a shared responsibility case. The police vehicle was aligned in such a way that made Ms. Mascolino very vulnerable to a driver who might have some kind of error,” Mercaldo said.
Although the criminal case is dismissed without prejudice, Johnson said the county will not bring another case to court unless new evidence is uncovered.