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Yuma man accused of 2nd degree murder pleads guilty to manslaughter


Police said the DUI crash claimed the life of a local woman

YUMA, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) - The man who faced a second degree murder charge, following the death of a Yuma woman during an alleged drunk driving incident in May of 2018, pleaded guilty in court Thursday.

Christopher Peirce pleaded guilty to manslaughter after being accused of crashing into a vehicle occupied by husband and wife John and Maria Patch, taking the life of 66-year-old Maria Patch.

The judge said Peirce blew .206 during an alcohol breathalyzer test at the time of the incident.

Peirce was originally out of custody but was ordered back into custody Thursday after pleading guilty to manslaughter. The family members present were visibly upset.

Yuma police said Maria and John Patch were driving home on May 15, 2018 when officers said Peirce rear-ended them. Maria died from the impact of the crash. John was airlifted to a hospital in the Phoenix-area.

In a previous court appearance Chris Patch, the son of Maria and John, detailed in his testimony that his father is still suffering from injuries following the incident.

Peirce will be back in court in March.

Article Topic Follows: Yuma County

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Dominique Newland

Dominique joined KYMA in June 2019 as a Sunrise anchor. She was born in New Jersey but raised in Carmel, Indiana.

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Brandon Mejia

Brandon Mejia joins the news team as the evening anchor for KSWT. You can catch him weeknight at 6 and 10 p.m.


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