No Charges, Discipline For Mpls. Officer Involved In Fatal Crash
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. (WCCO) – The case of a fatal crash between a Minneapolis squad car and a motorcyclist is now closed.
The crash happened in May as police responded to a shooting scene in Uptown where two other officers were shot. The motorcyclist, Ivan Romero, had a green light at the intersection but didn’t see the squad car in time.
The State Patrol, Internal Affairs Unit and the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office have completed their reviews of the case and there will be no disciplinary action taken against the officer involved, Joshua Young. The State Patrol did conclude, though, that Officer Young could have been more cautious as he entered the intersection.
In the meantime, Minneapolis Police released two dashcam videos showing the moments leading up to the crash.
There were three officers heading down 26th Street that afternoon.
The view from the second squad shows Officer Young’s car from behind, lights and siren activated, as other drivers pulled over to clear the way. But at Blaisdell Avenue, Romero’s motorcycle comes into view, skidding through the intersection.
“The motorcycle is on its side when he hits the back of the squad car,” Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau said.
Harteau said Young did not see the motorcycle coming. The view from his dashcam gives no sign of anything wrong before the sound and feel of the impact.
Harteau said Romero may have been an inexperienced motorcyclist. He didn’t have a driver’s license or permit, he was speeding and didn’t brake properly.
“Since the right tire was locked,” she said, “the motorcycle lost a significant portion of its stability, which caused the motorcycle to tip onto its right side and slide out.”
Harteau said the department can learn lessons from this incident, but she agreed that no punishment was warranted.
“This is the case of an officer responding to a call for help using caution well below the posted speed, properly using red lights and siren, and being struck by a motorcycle who had already lost control,” she said. “If you’ve noticed I’m not wearing my uniform today, and I do that purposely to remind everyone that we are human beings who even when making good faith efforts responding to calls for help, an event such as this unfortunately can happen.”
WCCO-TV tried contacting friends of Romero and his girlfriend, Joselin Torrejon, who was on the back of the motorcycle but survived, and did not hear back from any of them.
A lot of people questioned why the officers would be rushing to the scene at that time, because the shooting had happened more than a half hour earlier. Harteau said another call went out when a sergeant realized the crime scene hadn’t been secured, and people were starting to gather. She needed someone to set up a perimeter. That’s the call Young was responding to, when the crash happened.
Young is a decorated member of the force and an Iraq war veteran.