A police officer has been charged for his role in the deaths of two teenagers during the high-speed pursuit of a robbery suspect in Louisiana on Saturday morning.
Officer David Cauthron, who works for the Addis community police, was arrested Sunday night, WBRZ reported, after his patrol car crashed into the car carrying 17-year-old Maggie Dunn and Caroline Gill, 16, as passengers.
Both girls died in the collision. Liam Dunn, Maggie’s brother and a freshman at the University of Louisiana Lafayette, was also in the vehicle at the time. He is in critical condition.
At the time, police were pursuing a 24-year-old suspect, Tyquel Zanders, who allegedly broke into a relative’s home and stole his father’s car.
Maggie Dunn, 17, and Caroline Gill, 16, died after the car they were traveling in was struck by a police car driven by an officer pursuing a carjacker.
Officer David Cauthron, 42, crashed into the cheerleaders’ vehicle Saturday morning.
The chase began in Baton Rouge when Zanders broke into a home and took the keys, police said.
During the chase through several parishes, the Louisiana counties version, the 24-year-old ran red lights and hit speeds of 110 mph, according to police documents.
The school’s cheerleading squad 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 you can imagine.’
‘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 you can imagine,” the school wrote on Facebook.
At the time of the accident, police were pursuing suspect Tyquel Zanders, 24, who allegedly broke into a relative’s home and stole his car.
Arrest documents reveal that officers attempted to detain Zanders while he was in Baton Rouge.
When Zanders refused to stop, the chase began.
While being chased by the police through the town of Brusly, the Cauthron police cruiser crashed into the girls’ vehicle. Police confirmed they were not involved in the robbery, according to The Advocate.
Zanders allegedly then drove the stolen car back across the Mississippi River and was arrested when the vehicle came to a stop.
He will be charged with two counts of manslaughter, as well as burglary, burglary and aggravated flight, police said.
On Sunday, 18th Judicial District Attorney Tony Clayton questioned the police decision to pursue the driver at high speeds and agreed with the decision to arrest the officer.
Maggie Dunn, 17, and Caroline Gill, 16, died in the crash.
‘That cop has a lot of questions to answer related to his speed and sheer negligence. The public can be sure that we will follow the facts,” Clayton said.
Officer David Cauthron
“That these children have not been able to start the New Year is inexcusable, but we will follow the facts first,” Clayton continued. ‘I simply cannot understand why the officer was driving at that speed in pursuit of this vehicle. This officer is facing some serious problems.
“If it’s about endangering human life, stop the damn chase,” Clayton said. It’s just not worth the risk.
As for Zanders’ role in the accident, Clayton said, “He brought the chain of events into play.” He is responsible for all reactions to his actions. He faces two charges, and if that poor boy doesn’t survive, he’ll face another.
‘He faces over 100 years in prison and we plan to fully prosecute him,” Clayton added.