Forty-one-year-old Addis police officer, David Cauthron, was arrested, booked, and charged with two counts of negligent homicide and one count of negligent injuring after crashing into an unrelated vehicle during a high-speed car chase. The events unfolded on New Year’s Eve and the officer was arrested on Sunday.
The three victims are being identified as 16-year-old Caroline Gill, 17-year-old Maggie Dunn, and 20-year-old Liam Dunn (Maggie’s big brother). They were traveling to a nearby store when the police officer ran a red light and struck their vehicle. Caroline and Maggie were pronounced dead at the scene.
As for Liam, he was immediately rushed to a Lafayette hospital where he remained in critical condition. In the event he doesn’t survive, the police officer could see his ‘negligent injuring’ upgraded to a third count of ‘negligent homicide.’ As of Monday morning, Cauthron was being held in jail on a $100,000 bond.
It all started on December 31st when officer David Cauthron was responding to a 9-1-1 call in a Baton Rouge neighborhood. The suspect, Tyquel Zanders, was accused of entering his parent’s home (where he wasn’t welcome), pushing his father to the floor, and stealing his parent’s Nissan vehicle.
That’s when Cauthron began his pursuit of the vehicle. According to the officer’s GPS, he was going roughly 86 miles per hour at the time of the crash and failed to hit his brakes before making impact. Witnesses said the light he ran was red for nearly 20 seconds before his car reached the intersection.
The pursuit continued without Cauthron and authorities ended up stopping the suspect once he returned to the capital city. According to prosecutors, Cauthron isn’t the only one facing criminal charges – the suspect will also be charged for his role in the high-speed pursuit, ensuring justice is eventually served.
“He put the chain of events into play. He’s responsible for all the reactions to his actions. He’s facing two counts, and if that poor kid doesn’t survive, he’ll face another,” said District Attorney Tony Clayton – referring to the 20-year-old victim who continues to fight for his life. More details will be provided soon.
Family and Friends Pay Tribute to the Negligent Homicide Victims
In the days following the unfortunate event, family and friends have sent a flurry of heartwarming and touching messages for the three victims. Two of those victims never got to see the new year, while the third victim is fighting for his life in a local hospital – all of which could’ve and should’ve been avoided.
Brusly High School – where Maggie Dunn and Caroline Gill attended – released a statement explaining the events that unfolded. “Our immediate plan to honor the lives of Maggie and Caroline is a Candlelight Vigil Monday at 5:30 at the BHS Football Field,” wrote the high school principal, Walter Lemoine.
The Brusly High School Cheerleading team also released a statement on Facebook. “As we mourn the tragic deaths of Maggie and Caroline, please keep their families, friends, and the BHS community in your thoughts and prayers. Their enthusiasm and bright smiles will be missed more than can be imagined.”
District Attorney Tony Clayton didn’t hold back when speaking to reporters. “For these kids to not to have been able to start the New Year is inexcusable, but we’ll follow the facts first. I just can’t put my arms around why (the officer) was driving at that rate of speed in pursuit of this vehicle,” he commented.
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