An Albuquerque, New Mexico, police officer crashed his cruiser into another vehicle, killing a 6-year-old boy — but will walk away without consequences.
The tragedy unfolded in April when Johnathan McDonnell was traveling at 78-80 mph in a 40 mph zone on Eubank Boulevard when his vehicle collided with a SUV, injuring Joel Anthony Suina, his mother Antoinette Suina and his 9-year-old sister.
According to McDonnell, his vehicle’s rotating lights were flashing and the sirens were running at the time of the collision.
But according to Suina, she didn’t see the cruiser or the police lights or hear any sirens.
According to a KRQE 13 report, Suina suffered injuries, while her daughter sustained a head injury, pelvis fracture and lung, liver and kidney contusions.
Joel was placed on life support before he died.
The officer responsible for the accident also suffered from a broken femur, foot and other bones.
However, he wasn’t charged.
According to the crash report, McDonnell's computer monitor indicated the officer tried to brake and turn the steering wheel away from the SUV but it was too late.
“The little boy was non-responsive, we couldn't get a pulse on him,” said witness Monica Cullins, who tried to help out the family. “I'm not used to little ones like that.”
The Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department, which was investigating the crash, has not charged McDonnell for now, apparently, because he was travelling with his travel lights on.
G. Gallegos, Bernalillo County Sheriff's deputy, said he did “not feel charges are warranted at this time for either driver.”
“Officer McDonnell was authorized to operate his vehicle in an emergency response,” he said.
“I feel his (McDonnell's) intentions were to proceed to the call in an expedited manner as to preserve the safety of human life. As stated in the call details that ('subject was swinging knife [machete] in direction of caller'). Witness accounts stated he was traveling at a high rate of speed, however there were no witness account stating he was driving in a manner as to be reckless and he was not under the influence,” he added.
However, the police officer in question was reportedly disciplined five times for preventable crashes and once for an unauthorized pursuit in the past, before he crashed the SUV in April.
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