Louisiana’s two teenage girls never saw 2023. Tragically, they were killed when a police car crashed into their car while pursuing a car thief.
Maggie Dunn, 17, and Caroline Gill, 16, were riding along with Maggie’s brother Liam Dunn, a University of Louisiana Lafayette student. Law and Crime reported that 42-year-old Addis police officer David Cauthron, 42, allegedly ran a red light and “T-boned” the group’s vehicle with such force it was forced onto the median.
Maggie and Caroline, both cheerleaders from Brusly High school, a few kilometers southwest of Baton Rouge died on the spot. Liam was taken to the hospital and is currently in critical condition.
Tony Clayton, District Attorney, claimed that Cauthron displayed “sheer negligence” in his decisions that afternoon.
Clayton stated to reporters that he couldn’t understand why Clayton was driving at such a high speed in pursuit of this vehicle. “This officer has serious problems.”
He added, “If it involves putting life in danger for any reason, then stop the pursuit.”
Investigators claim that Cauthron reached a speed of 86 mph at the red light at Vaughn Drive and state highway 1. He did not apply the brakes at the stop sign. Witnesses reported that the light was red for about 20 seconds before Cauthron ran it.
Clayton stated that sirens and police cars only allow officers permission to ask to cut through red lights. When human life is at risk, you must slow down or stop completely.
Cauthron was previously employed by the Pointe Coupee Parish Sheriff’s Office. He has been with Addis PD for less than a month and has been charged with two counts each of negligent homicide or negligent injury. On a $100,000 bond, he was taken to the West Baton Rouge Parish Detention Center.
And Cauthron is not the only one facing serious charges regarding the crash. The man Cauthron was allegedly chasing, 24-year-old Tyquel Zanders is also facing a bevy of charges, including manslaughter.
Zanders is alleged to have stolen his father’s car earlier that morning. According to reports, Zanders took off at high speed, reaching speeds of 110 mph on the highway when police started following him. He also ran red lights at various points along the route. Police claim that he didn’t slow down at all after the fatal crash that claimed the lives of the girls. As he crossed the Mississippi River to Baton Rouge, he allegedly stopped when his vehicle became stuck.
Clayton stated that “Zanders” set the sequence of events in motion. Clayton claimed that Zanders was responsible for all reactions to his actions. He is facing two charges, and if the poor child [Liam] does not survive, he will face another.”
Zanders was charged with manslaughter and theft of a vehicle, home invasion, as well as aggravated fleeing from a police officer. It is not clear where he is currently being held or when he will appear in court.