Judge upholds murder charge in car crash death of a police officer

Philadelphia police officer Terry Simpson arrives at the Criminal Justice Center this morning for the preliminary hearing for William Foster, accused of killing his brother, Timothy Simpson. Simpson died from the injuries sustained after his patrol car was struck by a car driven by Foster.

Inquirer staff writer Dwight Ott reports:

A Bucks County man accused of killing Philadelphia Police Sgt. Timothy Simpson in a fiery car crash on Nov. 17 was ordered today to stand trial on third-degree murder and other charges.

William Foster, 41 of Levittown, was behind the wheel of a stolen car that hit Simpson’s patrol car as the 46-year-old police officer was responding to a robbery call.

Foster, a career criminal, was being pursued by police for what they said was speeding and running at least one red light.

In ordering Foster to stand trial, Philadelphia Municipal Court Judge David C. Shuter rejected a defense contention that no malice was involved in the deadly collision in Port Richmond. Shuter upheld charges of third degree murder, receiving stolen property, possession of a controlled dangerous substance, eluding police, and homicide by vehicle.

The sergeant's brother, Terry Simpson, 49, a near lookalike, was the only family member in court along with rank and file police officers and top police official, including  Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey.

"We're glad he was held over," said Simpson, speaking for the rest of the family. “My sister-in-law, his wife, is not handling this well and my mother is in her 70's."

Because blood tests showed only a trace of drugs and no alcohol in Foster’s system, prosecutors earlier withdrew all DUI-related charges.

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