A former Scottsdale police officer accused of striking a sheriff’s deputy in a DUI hitand-run agreed to a plea deal Thursday that will send him to prison for five to 12 years.
Kevin Baxter, 31, pleaded guilty to aggravated assault and leaving the scene of a serious injury accident in the May 1 crash on U.S. 60 in Mesa. He also is working with civil attorneys who represent Doug Matteson to reach a settlement with the Maricopa County deputy, whose leg was amputated just below the knee.
"We’re cooperating fully with the victim in this case so he can be made whole, or at least compensated," defense attorney Cameron Morgan said in the hallway of Maricopa County Superior Court.
Judge James Keppel granted the request of Matteson’s civil attorney to allow Baxter to remain free until his Feb. 3 sentencing so he can provide sworn testimony in the civil matter.
Matteson, who has endured up to 10 surgeries and is still struggling to heal and walk again, said he isn’t certain whether he will attend the sentencing.
Before the crash, Matteson was with the sheriff’s Special Assignment Unit. He is now on limited light duty, answering phones and reading reports.
Baxter and Matteson were both off duty at the time of the crash and didn’t know each other.
Prosecutor Keith Manning said Baxter was drunk and traveling east on U.S. 60 near Alma School Road when he plowed into Matteson’s motorcycle, which was going in the same direction. Witnesses said Baxter was speeding.
Baxter continued driving and ended up at a carwash at Javelina Avenue and Mesa Drive in Mesa where he stopped to change the flat tire on his damaged Ford Mustang.
That’s where an Arizona Department of Public Safety trooper arrested him.
His blood alcohol content was nearly twice the legal limit 4 1 /2 hours after the crash, Manning said.
Morgan said Baxter has agreed with the state that several factors exist that call for a harsher sentence, including speeding, intoxication, property damage, running away and attempt to conceal the crime.
Baxter resigned shortly after the crash, ending a 2 1 /2 year career with the Scottsdale Police Department.