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Man charged with deadly crash that killed an El Paso PD sergeant

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TUCSON (KVOA) - It's been a year since El Paso Police Sgt. Richard Allbee died in a head-on collision at the hands of a man who detectives said was impaired.     

They were heading to Mesa from El Paso to visit Allbee's parents.     

Allbee's wife was a passenger. She survived the crash. It happened in Bylus, Ariz., 140 miles from Tucson in Graham County.

For the last year, the man who reportedly caused the deadly collision had not been charged until now.

News 4 Tucson uncovered documents that charged 51-year-old John Savage with six felony counts ranging from manslaughter to driving under the influence.

The family of Richard Allbee has been on an emotional roller coaster.  

"Makes it even harder going through the first year and more years without my dad," Allbee's daughter, Alexia said.

She is the youngest of Richard and Norma Allbee's four children.

Her dad was a highly decorated soldier who served his country for 23 years. He also served his community for 19 years with the El Paso Police Department.

"He loved his job he loved what he did," she said.

Arizona Department of Public Safety investigated the crash.  

Investigators said the driver of the vehicle that hit the Allbee's head-on was John Savage.

He was suspected of being impaired when he crossed over into another lane on state route 70 in February of 2020.

Richard was pronounced dead at the scene.

The report said Norma Allbee and John Savage were airlifted to Banner University Medical Center.

She had "two broken arms, and broken ribs." Savage had "an open pelvic fracture, dislocated left hip, and a possible spinal fracture."

The report said Savage "had a cooler full of beer cans."

According to the reports, a witness said he "did not smell alcohol or notice slurred speech" when he helped pull Savage out of the truck.

At the hospital, a blood alcohol test showed he was over the legal limit. A lab report showed he tested positive for a depressant.

"You have a choice," Alexia said. "If you choose to drink, get an Uber. Don't get behind the wheel. He chose to do that he took my dad"

News 4 Tucson obtained a booking photo from the Graham County Sheriff's Department.  It was taken in 2018.  The charges according to the records unit were driving under the influence.

When DPS served him with the complaint, charging him with six felonies, officials said they found him bedridden and under medical care as a result of the crash.

The family is concerned the investigation took over a year.

Graham County Attorney Scott Bennett told News 4 Tucson, "we received the final report from the Az. Dept. of Public Safety on February 23, 2021. And on March 1st we filed the charges."

Bennett would not comment further.

"I just want justice," the late officer's daughter said.

According to Alexia, her mother is holding up, as is the entire family.

She said they all need to stay strong to get justice for their dad - a trait Alexia said he taught them.

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Lupita Murillo

Lupita Murillo is an investigative reporter. She is part of the Digging Deeper team that uncovers important issues focusing on crime that affects the community.

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