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Charleston police officer pleads not guilty to negligent homicide

CHRIS DORST | Gazette-Mail
Officer Stephen Doss, of the Charleston police, appeared Tuesday in Kanawha Circuit Court where he pleaded not guilty after he had been indicted for negligent homicide earlier this month. The charges stem from a crash that killed an 80-year-old woman on Charleston’s West Side.

A Charleston police officer on Tuesday pleaded not guilty to charges related to a fatal crash in January.

Officer Stephen Doss, 27, stood before Kanawha County Circuit Judge Duke Bloom to enter the plea for negligent homicide, speeding and an emergency vehicle violation.

Doss, who wore a shirt, tie and dress slacks, only spoke to answer Bloom’s questions in the courtroom, and he was released on a $10,000 personal recognizance bond.

Doss’s attorney, Michael Del Giudice, said Doss still is employed with the Charleston Police Department, but he is on administrative leave and is required to be at his home between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. each day. Del Giudice called the situation a home confinement through his employer.

A trial date was scheduled for Sept. 25, and a pre-trial hearing will take place at 10 a.m. Sept. 19.

Doss is accused of crashing into a car in the 400 block of Washington Street West, near the intersection of Maryland Avenue, on Jan. 4

A woman in the car, Dora Clarke, 80, suffered injuries in the crash and died five days later as a result, according to the criminal complaint filed in Kanawha County Magistrate Court.

In the complaint, Doss is accused of driving 74 mph as he responded to a report of a man armed with a knife in the Orchard Manor housing complex, according to the complaint, while the area in which he was driving had a speed limit of 30 mph.

Charleston Police Chief Brent Webster told the Gazette-Mail in January it appeared Doss was speeding without using his emergency lights or siren, which is against the department’s policy and state law.

If Doss is found guilty of negligent homicide, he would be eligible to serve up to one year in prison.

Reach Lacie Pierson at lacie.pierson@wvgazettemail.com, 304-348-1723 or follow @laciepierson on Twitter.

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