Caroline Gill and Maggie Dunn were killed when Officer David Cauthron (right) hit them while pursuing a suspect (Picture: Facebook/WBRZ)
A police officer was arrested after crashing into a car and killing two teenagers while chasing a suspect in a high-speed pursuit.
David Cauthron, an officer with the Addis Police Department in Louisiana, was pursuing 24-year-old suspect Tyquel Zanders on Saturday morning when he struck an oncoming car that was uninvolved in the chase.
Zanders had allegedly stolen a car after breaking into a home in the area and snatching its keys. According to booking documents, the vehicle belonged to Zanders’ father.
Responding officers chased Zanders across a bridge over the Mississippi River, where a police cruiser from the small town of Addis joined the chase.
Cauthron was pursuing Tyquel Zanders, who was arrested and charged with manslaughter for his role in the victims’ deaths
Cauthron was driving the cruiser, which pursued Zanders south along Louisiana Highway 1.
After running a red light near the town of Brusly, Cauthron crashed into an oncoming car.
WBRZ reported that his cruiser’s GPS indicated he was going 86 miles per hour and did not brake before slamming into the oncoming car. Additionally, witnesses said the light had been red for about 20 seconds while Cauthron approached it.
The three occupants of the car were identified as Caroline Gill, 16, Maggie Dunn, 17, and Liam Dunn, 20.
Caroline and Maggie were pronounced dead at the scene. They were both students at nearby Brusly High School.
Liam was hospitalized and is in critical condition. He is a freshman at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.
Cauthron was arrested a day later and charged with two counts of negligent homicide and one count of negligent injuring.
Jail records indicate Cauthron is currently being held at West Baton Rouge Parish Detention Center, after being booked on Sunday night at 9.43pm.
‘That cop has a lot of questions to answer pertaining to his speed and sheer negligence,’ West Baton Rouge District Attorney Tony Clayton stated. ‘The public can rest assured, we will follow the facts.’
‘The Addis PD is deeply saddened by the tragic accident that occurred,’ the small town’s police department stated. ‘We wish to offer our sincere condolences to the Dunn and Gill families.’
Caroline and Maggie were both members of the Brusly High School Cheerleading Team, and the organization asked community members to share fond memories of students.
‘As we mourn the tragic deaths of Maggie Dunn and Caroline Gill please keep their families, friends, and the BHS community in your thoughts and prayers,’ they wrote. ‘Their enthusiasm and bright smiles will be missed more than can be imagined.’
A candlelight vigil for the students was planned for 5.30pm on Monday night at Brusly High School.
Zanders was eventually arrested back on the eastern side of the Mississippi after his stolen car stalled. He was charged with home invasion, theft of a vehicle, aggravated flight, and two counts of manslaughter for the deaths of Dunn and Gill.
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