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Los Angeles cop convicted in hit-and-run sent to prison for evaluation

February 1, 2011 | 12:47 pm

A Los Angeles police officer convicted of leaving the scene of an accident in a 2008 hit-and-run was sent to state prison for 90 days Tuesday to undergo an evaluation that could determine his sentence, a prosecutor said.

Prosecutors are seeking a two-year prison term for Officer William J. Skett, who was convicted of striking two pedestrians as he was backing up his Hummer in a Saugus parking lot and then leaving the scene. Skett was convicted in October after a jury deliberated for 2 1/2 days.

Jurors, however, were divided on a charge of driving under the influence, causing injury. And they acquitted the officer of a third felony count, driving with blood-alcohol level of 0.08%.

Skett was arrested at his home an hour after the pedestrians were struck.

Prosecutors say the delay in arresting the officer meant they were unable to debunk Skett's claim that his blood-alcohol level was elevated because he drank once he got home after the incident.

Skett denied he was driving the car.

Witnesses said they saw Skett's vehicle hit a man and a woman at 2:30 a.m. as he backed out of a parking space in a lot near a restaurant and bar.

Prosecutors alleged that Skett got out of his vehicle, saw the injured victims and sped from the parking lot near Bouquet Canyon and Soledad Canyon roads, abandoning his Hummer after leaving the area. 

One of the pedestrians, Susan Sims, then 62, suffered multiple broken ribs and collapsed lungs. The unidentified 65-year-old man suffered minor cuts and bruises.

Sheriff's deputies quickly traced the abandoned Hummer to Skett. He denied he had been behind the wheel, they said.

Sims' son, Deputy Dist. Atty. Jon Hatemi, told The Times after the incident that Skett was a "coward" and "disgrace to the Police Department."


L.A. police officer convicted of fleeing after hitting pedestrians

-- Richard Winton