GLENDALE, Ariz. – The Navajo Police Department has fired a Navajo police officer Friday after he allegedly drove drunk and killed a bicyclist a week ago.
Kevin Hevel, 30, was booked on charges of manslaughter, felony endangerment, driving under the influence and failure to stay at the scene of an accident causing death.
Last week, an officer in the area reported that the driver of the red SUV sideswiped another SUV that was traveling in the same direction. Occupants of that vehicle were not injured.
Police said Hevel's car eventually struck a bicyclist traveling westbound. The bicyclist, Peter Ranking, 50, was pronounced dead at the scene.
Police said Hevel fled the scene of the accident, running a red light and then running into a marked police vehicle. The police officer in that vehicle sustained minor injuries.
Hevel has been a member of the Navajo Nation Police Department since November 2007. He was a patrol officer assigned to the Window Rock District. He was attending police related training in Paradise Valley when the incident occurred.
Navajo Nation Police Chief Phillip Francisco said that Hevel had been in good standing with the department and was not known to have a problem with alcohol.
“The fact that one of my Navajo Police Department officers was involved in this incident is very troubling and disappointing to me,” Chief Francisco said. “The on and off duty conduct of police officers is extremely important because as law enforcement officers, we are entrusted with the safety of the public. I have always stressed that we hold ourselves to higher standards. My condolences and apologies go out to the victims in this incident.”
Glendale Police Vehicular Crime Detectives have taken over the investigation.