Judge Acquits Officer in Double-Fatal Beltway Crash

Prince George's County state's attorney says he can't appeal

LEONARDTOWN, Md. -- A St. Mary's County judge has granted a motion for acquittal in the vehicular manslaughter case against a Prince George's County police officer involved in a double-fatal, seven-vehicle crash on the Beltway in 2007.

Prince George's County State's Attorney Glenn Ivey said that he is very disappointed by Judge Graydon McKee's decision, but under the law he can not appeal it.

Prince George's County Police Department Officer Scott Campbell was charged with two counts of vehicular manslaughter in connection with the crash that killed Kevin McCarter and Sidney Clanton in Forestville in May 2007. Campbell allegedly was pursuing a motorcycle, reaching 124 mph, when he slammed into an SUV on the Beltway.

"This is a very tragic situation," said Vince Canales in a statement from the Prince George's County Fraternal Order of Police. "There were no winners in the tragic situation at all. We feel for the victims of the crash. However, we are happy for Officer Scott Campbell and his family."

During a motions hearing on Monday, Campbell's attorney, Mike Belski, argued that authorities should have charged the man on the motorcycle, identified as Harold Vaughan, who broke the law and caused the crash.

Prosecutors put the blame squarely with Campbell, a seven-year veteran of the force. Campbell had a camera mounted in his cruiser but turned it off for six seconds before the fatal crash, then turned it back on after the impact, prosecutors said.

"The officer intentionally cut off this video," Assistant State's Attorney Michael Pearson said.

Campbell had a "consciousness of guilt, an attempt to destroy evidence," Pearson said.

The trial was moved to St. Mary's County because of a defense request for a change of venue.

Campbell was facing 20 years in prison if convicted.

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