PHOENIX – An intoxicated driver who struck and killed an on-duty Chandler Police officer last year will serve a 14-year term in the Arizona Department of Corrections. Under terms of the sentence imposed today by the Honorable Judge Warren Granville, Brian Yazzie (D.O.B. 2/10/1983) will also be placed on probation for seven years following his release.
“While today’s sentence cannot replace the life that was taken by this Defendant and his criminal actions, it nonetheless underscores our unyielding determination to hold accountable those who make the senseless decision to drink and drive,” said Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery. “Our hearts today are with Officer David Payne’s family and we will forever honor his sworn commitment to protect the community.”
Shortly after 12:30 a.m. on October 31, 2014, a blue Pontiac collided with the rear of Chandler Police Officer David Payne’s motorcycle which was stopped at a traffic light on eastbound Chandler Boulevard at Pennington Drive. Following the collision, the Pontiac continued travelling eastbound, eventually coming to rest on the south curb and sidewalk several blocks away. Responding police officers arrived and attempted lifesaving measures on Officer Payne. He was transported to Chandler Regional Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
The Pontiac was unoccupied when responding units arrived. Witnesses reported seeing a male suspect walking away from the vehicle carrying a baby. He was subsequently located and identified as Brian Yazzie. The baby he was carrying was unhurt. The child’s mother was contacted and later arrived to take custody of the child. Yazzie showed multiple signs of impairment, including having a strong odor of alcohol and difficulty standing. He had a blood alcohol concentration of .326. Investigators also learned that Yazzie’s driver’s license had recently been suspended as a result of a previous DUI arrest.
On November 6, 2014, the Grand Jurors of Maricopa County indicted Yazzie on one count each of second degree murder, leaving the scene of a fatal accident, and endangerment; four counts of aggravated driving under the influence, and one count of extreme aggravated DUI. He later agreed to waive his right to a trial and pled no contest to second degree murder and leaving the scene.