Louisiana cop charged in crash that left two high school cheerleaders dead

Louisiana police are facing charges for plowing into an unrelated car during a high-speed chase on New Year’s Eve – leaving two high school cheerleaders dead.

Officer David Cauthron, 42, of the Addis police force, was charged with two counts of negligent homicide Sunday in the deaths of Maggie Dunn, 17, and Caroline Gill, 16, according to WBRZ.

Maggie’s brother, Liam Dunn, a freshman at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, was reportedly critically injured in the crash.

18th Judicial District Attorney Tony Clayton argued against the police, who has been with the police department for less than a year. He previously worked for the sheriff’s office in the state.

“The cops have a lot of questions to answer about their speed and negligence,” Clayton said Sunday, according to WBRZ. “The public can rest assured, we will follow the facts.”

Sources told the news outlet that Cauthron’s vehicle was going about 86 miles per hour during the pursuit of suspect Tyquel Zanders, who is accused of stealing a family member’s car. Sources also told the news station that the police officer did not slam on the brakes before hitting the girl’s car.

Witnesses said Cauthron ran a red light when his police car reached the intersection and ran into the victim’s car around noon, according to the news station.

The chase began when Zanders, 24, entered the house where he was not welcomed and shoved his father to the ground before taking the keys to a Nissan, The Advocate reported, citing Clayton and booking documents.

Zanders, who was later arrested when his car stalled, is expected to also face manslaughter charges in the deaths of the two girls on top of charges related to the car theft, according to the West Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office, the newspaper reported.

“He put a chain of events on the line,” Clayton, the prosecutor, told The Advocate. “He is responsible for all the reactions to his actions. He faces two counts, and if the poor boy doesn’t survive, he will face another.

The West Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office also made police arrests, according to the newspaper.

The two slain high school students were remembered by the Brusly High School cheerleading team in a Facebook post Sunday.

“As we mourn the tragic deaths of Maggie Dunn and Caroline Gill please keep the family, friends, and BHS community in your thoughts and prayers,” the cheerleading team said. “His joy and bright smile will be missed more than anyone can imagine.”

High school said Dunn was a junior and Gill was a sophomore.

“We are saddened by the loss of our school community and will do our best to help you and your child as much as you need,” said high school principal Walt Lemoine.

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