No charges filed against IMPD officer in fatal crash

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Prosecutors will not file charges against an IMPD officer who struck and killed a pedestrian on the south side of Indianapolis September 24, but the police chief is recommending he be fired.

Ofc. Bernardo Zavalza had been placed on administrative leave following the crash, which killed 53-year-old Ronny Bowling.

"The death of Mr. Bowling is a tragedy, and we extend our condolences to his family and loved ones. As with any fatal crash, our office has made a thorough review of all evidence related to the incident and determined that the actions of Officer Bernardo Zavalza do not rise to the level of criminal charges as prescribed by state statutes," Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry said in a statement.

Curry said the crash investigation showed the officer's blood-alcohol level was .029, "clearly below the legal limit of .08," and a separate screen turned up no other intoxicants in Zavalza's blood.

Investigators who reconstructed the crash scene determined Zavalza was traveling at 46 mph in a 40 mph zone and that Bowling was walking in the street, as a caller to 911 reported.

Though Zavalza won't face charges, IMPD Chief Rick Hite is recommending termination because of a "clear violation of IMPD policy and a crash resulting in a fatality."

"After reviewing the administrative findings from both the Internal Affairs and Special Investigation Units, I find it appropriate, warranted and within IMPD policy to recommend to the Police Merit Board that Zavalza be terminated," said Hite.

The Police Civilian Merit Board will determine if Zavalza should be terminated.

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