Two Louisiana cheerleaders were killed after a cop ran red light and slammed into their car during New Year’s Eve high-speed chase in Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana on Saturday morning
Maggie Dunn, 17, and Caroline Gill, 16, from Addis were killed after Officer David Cauthron of Addis Police Department crashed into their vehicle
Maggie’s brother, Liam Dunn, who was also in the vehicle at the time of the crash is hospitalized in critical condition
At the time of the crash, police were pursuing 24-year-old suspect Tyquel Zanders who allegedly broke into a family member’s home and stole their car
Cauthron, 42, was arrested and charged with two counts of negligent homicide and one count of negligent injuring – bond was set at $100,000
Zanders who ‘put the chain of events into play,’ is facing two counts manslaughter, one count home invasion, theft of a vehicle and aggravated flight
More charges will be added if college freshman Liam Dunn does not survive his injuries, the DA said
Zanders, 24, is facing more than 100 years in prison
A police officer has been charged over his role in the death of two teenagers during the high-speed chase of a robbery suspect in Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana on Saturday morning.
Officer David Cauthron, who works for the police in the community of Addis, was arrested Sunday evening, WBRZ reported, after his cruiser slammed into the car in which Maggie Dunn, 17, and Caroline Gill, 16, were passengers.
Both girls were killed in the collision. Liam Dunn, Maggie’s brother and a University of Louisiana Lafayette freshman, was also in the vehicle at the time. He is in a critical condition.
Cauthron has been charged with two counts of negligent homicide and one count of negligent injuring. His bond has been set at $100,000.
At the time, police were pursuing a 24-year-old suspect Tyquel Zanders, who allegedly broke into a family member’s home and stole his father’s car. The chase started in Baton Rouge, police said.
During the chase through multiple parishes the suspected car thief ran red lights and reached speeds of 110 mph, according to police documents.
The school’s cheerleading team released a statement on Facebook about the girls’ passing.
‘As we mourn the tragic deaths of Maggie Dunn and Caroline Gill 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.’
At the time of the crash, police were pursuing 24-year-old suspect Tyquel Zanders who allegedly broke into a family member’s home and stole their car.
Arrest documents reveal that officers tried to pull Zanders over while in Baton Rouge.
When Zanders refused to stop, the chase began.
As police pursued him through the town of Brusly, Cauthron’s police cruiser crashed into the girls’ vehicle. Police confirmed they were not involved in the theft, according to The Advocate.
Zanders allegedly then drove the stolen car back across the Mississippi River and was arrested when the vehicle stalled.
He will be charged with two counts of manslaughter, as well as home invasion, theft of a vehicle and aggravated flight, police said.
At the time of the collision, Cauthron was driving at very high speeds didn’t hit his brakes, according to WBRZ. Witnesses say he ran a red light.
As reported by WBRZ, the GPS inside Cauthron’s vehicle showed he was going about 86 miles per hour and did not hit his brakes before impact. Witnesses said Cauthron ran a red light and that the light had been red for about 20 seconds when his police unit reached the intersection.
The police cruiser struck the victims’ car, pushing it into the median of the highway. Maggie Dunn and Caroline Gill, were pronounced dead.
A third occupant of the car, Dunn’s teenage brother, was taken to a hospital in critical condition.
The teenagers teens were heading to a store just minutes from home.
Investigators reviewed dash camera video and other footage from the crash before deciding to arrest Cauthron.
On Sunday, 18th Judicial District Attorney Tony Clayton questioned the decision of the police to pursue the driver at such high speeds, and agreed with the decision to arrest the officer.
‘That cop has a lot of questions to answer pertaining to his speed and sheer negligence. The public can rest assured, we will follow the facts,’ Clayton said.
‘For these kids to not to have been able to start the New Year is inexcusable, but we’ll follow the facts first,’ Clayton went on.
‘I just can’t put my arms around why the officer was driving at that rate of speed in pursuit of this vehicle. This officer is facing some serious issues.
‘If it involves putting human life in danger, stop the damn pursuit,’ Clayton said. ‘It’s just not worth the risk.’
In terms of Zanders’ role in the crash, Clayton said: ‘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.
‘He is facing well over 100 years in prison and we plan to fully prosecute him,’ DA Clayton added.