Did The System Fail Sgt. Simpson?

Philadelphia police had suspect in officer's death in custody 2 weeks ago

They had him, but let him go.

The driver accused in the death of Sgt. Timothy Simpson was in police custody just two weeks ago.

He'd been caught with a stolen shotgun, there was a bench warrant out for his arrest, according to District Attorney Lynne Abraham, but a bail commissioner let William Foster go.

On Tuesday, Foster was back in police custody in connection with Sgt. Simpson's death. Foster has been charged with: 3rd degree murder, aggravated assault, simple aggravated assault, homicide by vehicle, fleeing police, homicide by vehicle while driving under the influence, driving under the influence, recklessly endangering another person and other related offenses.

He was arraigned Tuesday evening on charges in the death of Philadelphia Police Sgt. Timothy Simpson. Bail was set at $2-Million per the request of the District Attorney’s Office.

Police say Foster got behind the wheel of a friend's car on Monday and drove to Philly from Levittown with one purpose: to buy heroin.

Foster was being chased by police through the streets of Port Richmond for running red lights when his car slammed into Sgt. Simpson's police cruiser, killing Simpson.  The fatal accident happened at the corner of Aramingo and Allegheny.  Sgt. Simpson had been on his way to a robbery call.

Simpson is the fifth Philadelphia police officer to die in the line of duty in little more than a year.

Ironically, Simpson was the officer who handcuffed the suspect in the killing of partner, Sgt. Stephen Liczbinski.

Simpson had also been given command of Liczbinski's unit.

Only hours before he died, he was given an award for outstanding service.

William Foster's preliminary hearing is scheduled for November 26, 2008, 8:30am, Room 306 of the Criminal Justice Center.

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