BRUSLY, La. (BRPROUD) — After a New Year’s Eve officer-involved crash during a high-speed chase after a home invasion suspect left two West Baton Rouge Parish high school students dead, the district attorney is looking to bring the case to a grand jury.
In a Tuesday, Jan. 3 statement, West Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Tony Clayton expressed his concerns about the crash.
Read Clayton’s statement below:
“My office will conduct a thorough investigation of the case, including analyzing all police unit dash camera and officer camera footage, communication with the officer, and interviews with witnesses; and will present the case to a grand jury.
“We will follow the facts of the case, but I cannot understand why the officer was driving at such a high rate of speed through a red light. Sirens and police vehicles do not give an officer the authority to cut through a red light. They must slow down or come to a complete stop when human life is in danger. In this case, evidence appears to show that the officer was grossly negligent, and the lives of these young people would not have been taken had he exercised common sense.
“If it involves putting human life in danger, stop the damn pursuit. It’s just not worth the risk. This is a tragic case that has impacted many families and an entire community, and ended the lives of young people with a promising future ahead of them. It’s very sad.”District Attorney Tony Clayton
Addis police officer David Cauthron, 42, was arrested the day after the deadly crash on charges of two counts of negligent homicide and one count of negligent injury. Clayton said Cauthron’s bond was set at $100,000, and has not bonded out as of Tuesday.
The crash victims who died were identified as Brusly High cheerleaders Maggie Dunn, 17, and Caroline Gill, 16. Clayton said Maggie’s brother, a University of Louisiana at Lafayette student, Liam Dunn is still in critical condition.
Officers were after a Baton Rouge home invasion suspect Tyquel Zanders, 24, during the high-speed chase which reached up to 110 miles per hour on the interstate and crossed into West Baton Rouge Parish.
The West Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office is leading the investigation into the crash.