Bullhead City man pleads guilty to fatal crash

April 16, 2017 GMT

KINGMAN — A Bullhead City man pleaded guilty Wednesday to a charge stemming from a fiery February 2016 car crash on Highway 95 in Fort Mohave.

Shane Matthew Richardson, 28, pleaded guilty to manslaughter for the head-on crash that killed Joseph Frederick, 57, of Bullhead City. Richardson had been charged with first-degree murder.

Under the stipulated plea agreement, Richardson will be sentenced to 15 years in prison. Superior Court Judge Steven Conn will sentence Richardson on June 5. A defendant convicted of manslaughter typically faces from seven to 21 years in prison under Arizona sentencing guidelines.

In stating the facts of the case, Deputy Mohave County Attorney Michael Crocker said that around 11:26 p.m. on Feb. 9, 2016, Richardson was southbound on Highway 95 going about 80 mph when a police officer spotted him and turned around to pursue.

Richardson tried to flee from the patrol car, which had its lights on, and tried to turn left near Camp Mohave Road when he crossed into oncoming traffic and crashed head on into Frederick’s car.

Witnesses at a convenience store reported that both vehicles caught fire after the collision. An Arizona Department of Public Safety officer used a fire extinguisher to douse the flames on Richardson’s car and extracted him from his car. Fort Mojave Mesa firefighters arrived to put out the fire on Frederick’s car and extracted him from the wreckage.

Richardson was taken to a Las Vegas hospital; Frederick later died from his injuries. Highway 95 was closed for more than four hours after the crash.

Crocker said that lab results showed Richardson’s blood-alcohol content to be 0.195, more than twice the legal limit, following the crash.