No charges in fatal crash involving state trooper chase | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

No charges in fatal crash involving state trooper chase

Posted By on Wed, Dec 28, 2016 at 7:58 AM

CRASH SCENE: In Hot Springs. - KARK
  • KARK
  • CRASH SCENE: In Hot Springs.

The State Police announced Tuesday that no charges would be filed in an October crash following a high-speed chase in Hot Springs that left two dead and a state trooper seriously injured.

CASSANDRA BRAUN: Killed in accident.
  • CASSANDRA BRAUN: Killed in accident.
Two people were killed in a car attempting to make a left turn when it was smashed by a State Police vehicle driven by Trooper Brian Burke. He'd been in pursuit of another vehicle he'd reportedly pursued about a half-mile after observing it speeding on U.S. 70. The couple were new to Hot Springs and working in a restaurant opening. The release:

An independent law enforcement investigation of an October 10, 2016 motor vehicle crash that left two people dead and an Arkansas State Trooper seriously injured has been completed. Terri Harris, 18th Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney, who reviewed the investigation, advised state police commanders today that no criminal charges will be filed in connection with the crash.

The state police patrol car driven by Trooper Brian Burke collided with another vehicle occupied by Cassandra Marie Braun, 26, and Tavon Desean Jenkins, 24. Both died at the crash scene. Trooper Burke, a five year veteran of the state police, remains on medical leave as a result of the injuries he sustained.

The crash occurred along the western edge of the Hot Springs city limits at the intersection of U.S. Highway 70 and Kleinshore Road.

The Hot Springs Police Department supervised the investigation with assistance from the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory and Little Rock Police Department.

The conclusion of the criminal investigation clears the way for the Arkansas State Police to start an internal review of the crash as required by department policy. Any state police vehicle involved in a crash automatically triggers a review process that is designed to determine whether the vehicle was being operated consistent with state police policies and procedures.

As with any administrative investigation, violations of policy and procedures documented in the review could result in disciplinary job action up to and including, suspension or termination.

“The loss of life in any traffic crash is tragic and I want to extend my condolences to the Braun and Jenkins families,” said Colonel Bill Bryant, Director of the Arkansas State Police.
At the time, it was reported that Burke had made a u-turn to chase the vehicle. The internal review will include the speed traveled by the trooper and whether emergency lights were in use.

A probate filing indicates Braun's mother, as a representative of Braun's estate, is contemplating a wrongful death claim for her death in an accident that was not her fault.

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