Trooper cleared by grand jury on brutality charges



A grand jury’s decision not to recommend charges against a state trooper following a police-brutality allegation was hailed as “total vindication” Tuesday by the trooper’s attorney.

State Trooper Kelly Cruz, a veteran narcotics investigator, should soon return to regular duty, said attorney Christian J. Hoey.

But Joseph P. Green Jr., who represents Zachary W. Bare, emphatically disagreed with the grand jury, calling its decision a “whitewash” aimed at protecting “a state trooper from a verified, corroborated report of felonious assault.”

Bare, 22, of Exton, accused Cruz of stomping on his head Aug. 19, 2009, while he was lying facedown in handcuffs.

In criticizing the decision, Green cited the state Attorney General’s “prolonged refusal to act, and then its eleventh-hour claim of an unreviewable dismissal of the complaint.”

In Chester County Court, he argued before President Judge James P. MacElree 2d that his client was entitled to a hearing and to evidence that would explain why the complaint was not pursued. He said the state should not be able to shroud its decision in secrecy by employing a grand jury.

Deputy Attorney General James P. Barker responded that Green was not entitled to a hearing or to the state’s investigative file.

Attorneys presented case law to bolster their arguments, and the judge said that, after reviewing their submissions, he would issue a ruling on whether another hearing was warranted.

Cruz has been on desk duty since Bare filed a private criminal complaint Nov. 23, 2009, with the District Attorney’s Office, accusing Cruz of breaking his nose and pushing four teeth into his gums with his foot. Medical reports showed Bare had two facial fractures.

According to court records, the alleged assault, which occurred during a drug raid, was witnessed by another police officer. Bare was apprehended because he matched the description of a man who had fled a suspected methamphetamine lab in Exton that was the target of a drug investigation. Bare was never charged in connection with the raid.

Citing a social relationship with Cruz, Chester County District Attorney Joseph W. Carroll turned the investigation over to the state Attorney General’s Office.

Hoey said it was clear the grand jury accepted Cruz’s version of events and found inconsistencies in the testimony of Bare and officers from West Whiteland Township. Hoey called the grand jury move “total vindication.”

Referring to a civil case that has been on hold pending the outcome of the Attorney General’s investigation, Green said he expected a jury would have a different view.

“The good news is that someday, this will get presented in a courtroom,” he said. “Then we’ll see what is decided.”

Distracted Driving

Pennsylvania defines distracted driving as “an activity that could divert a person’s attention away from the primary task of driving.” Drivers have to focus on driving, so they can react to the information on the road, such as road conditions, hazards and other drivers. Distracted drivers do not react appropriately and thus put others at risk for severe injury or death. Examples of distractions, besides using cell phones and texting, include drinking, eating, adjusting the radio, adjusting climate controls, adjusting seats, combing hair, putting on make-up, daydreaming, reaching for dropped items, engaging in heavy conversations, and focusing on events outside of the car.

Driving Under the Influence

Driving under the influence typically refers to alcohol use, but drug use can also impair drivers and cause severe car accidents.  In either situation, enjoying cocktails at happy hour, celebrating with drugs or alcohol, drinking too much wine for dinner and unwinding after a long week at work results in too many motorists driving under the influence.  Controlled substances impact each person differently, making it common for someone to misjudge his or her level of impairment.  These poor judgments can lead to severe and sometimes fatal car accidents.

Driver Fatigue

Driving without enough sleep is commonplace for many in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and across the nation. Truck drivers, shift workers, and those with sleep disorders are most vulnerable to causing an accident because they are drowsy or fatigued. Not having enough rest slows down reaction time and impairs the senses. In fact, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) claims that eighteen (18) hours without sleep impairs a driver to the same extent as someone who has a 0.08 blood or breath alcohol concentration after consuming alcohol.


The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that one-third of all car accidents involve speeding. Drivers who rush, run late, or simply lack patience may choose to speed when they get behind the wheel. Speeding makes it more likely that a driver will lose control of his or her vehicle and makes it more difficult to react to road hazards and other vehicles. Speeding also increases the impact of a car accident and makes it far less likely that a negligent driver may maintain control of his vehicle sufficient to prevent a collision. High speed car accidents make it far more likely that those involved will suffer severe injuries or death.


At HoeyLegal, we know from our litigation experience that tractor-trailer drivers often operate at least one cellular phone which is in use at, during, or immediately prior to a tractor-trailer accident. Additionally, most tractor-trailers are equipped with data recorders which capture, in real-time, important vehicle operation events including speed, hard braking and other evasive maneuvers taken by the operator and the tractor-trailer.  It is imperative that this evidence be obtained before it is destroyed.  At HoeyLegal, our trial attorneys will obtain any necessary court order to preserve this evidence for trial.


Oftentimes, there are several defendants responsible for the tractor-trailer accident. In most cases, at least two defendants are responsible for the ownership and operation of the tractor-trailer.  There may be additional defendants responsible for the hiring and retention of the tractor-trailer driver.  At HoeyLegal, our investigators will promptly identify the responsible defendants and immediately request the preservation of all evidence related to the hiring and retention of the driver, inspection of the vehicles and the supervision and drug/alcohol testing of the vehicle operator.


Our accident investigators include mechanics who will immediately respond to the accident site and the location where the truck has been impounded in order to photograph the truck and conduct necessary mechanical inspections of the vehicle. In the event that a court order is necessary to examine and inspect the trucks, HoeyLegal Attorneys will promptly file the necessary motions to enable the HoeyLegal mechanics and inspectors to conduct a prompt evaluation of the mechanical function of the at-fault tractor-trailer


Our expert accident investigators include former Pennsylvania State Police accident investigators and nationally recognized engineers who will carefully photograph the accident scene and conduct all necessary measurements of skid marks, yaw marks, displacement of debris and thoroughly examine the accident site to preserve all evidence for the time of trial.


Our investigators will promptly interview and record all witnesses that observed the accident and collect all biographical information from the witnesses so they will available to testify on your behalf at trial.

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