911 tapes from fatal crash involving MSP trooper released
Posted By Wesley Goheen, Web Managing Editor - email
FLINT, MI (WNEM) -
Recordings of the 911 call from the deadly crash involving a Michigan State Trooper have been released.
Nearly two weeks ago, a trooper in the middle of a chase struck another vehicle, killing 64-year-old Jacqueline Nichols.
On the tape, dispatchers sound surprised to learn an officer was involved in the crash.
The state police and that trooper are now facing a $50 million wrongful death suit in connection with the crash.
"This is a totally unnecessary tragedy and something has to be done," says Geoffrey Fieger, the lawyer who has brought about the lawsuit.
Fieger said his findings revealed the trooper began a high-speed pursuit in Flint because a motorist wasn't wearing a seatbelt.
Fieger said a witness observed the police cruiser traveling at a high rate of speed without any lights or sirens for at least five blocks before hitting the car carrying Nichols and two friends.
He said the trooper's father was in the car on a ride-along during the chase. He said that information is very important to this case.
The crash happened July 3 when a trooper was chasing a fleeing vehicle, police said.
The trooper from the Flint post tried to pull over the suspect's car, but the suspect refused and ran a stop sign. Police said the trooper pursued the suspect and crashed into another vehicle traveling through the intersection. The suspect fled the scene.
Precious Cochrane, 61, Jacqueline Nichols, 64, and Robbie Head, 39, were in the vehicle the state trooper crashed into. Nichols died in the accident and Cochrane and Head were severely injured.
The police vehicle was traveling through the intersection at a high rate of speed, without lights or sirens operating, pursuing a vehicle for a minor traffic violation, Fieger's office said in a news release.
The trooper and a passenger, who was a civilian doing a ride-along, suffered non-life-threatening injuries.
"It is well known that police take the public's lives into their hands when they engage in unnecessary and inappropriately conducted police chases. In this case, it is also terrible that the state police office had a family tag-along in his car. Apparently, he was trying to impress the drive-along," Fieger said in the news release.
Fieger also said he would pressure Genesee County to bring criminal charges against the trooper responsible.
"This is not a new occurrence. Officers have been charged in this state in the past for the same thing," Fieger said.
Copyright 2014 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.