DA blasts Louisiana cop charged in crash that killed two teenage cheerleaders: ‘Stop the damn chase’

A Louisiana police officer has been arrested and charged in the deaths of two high school cheerleaders after he crashed into their vehicle while engaged in a high-speed chase with a suspect.

Eighteenth District Attorney Tony Clayton announced the charges against Officer David Cauthron on Sunday after he was arrested on a warrant. Cauthron faces two counts of negligent homicide and one count of negligent injury in the deaths of Maggie Dunn, 17, and Caroline Gill, 16. Maggie’s brother, Liam Dunn, was also reportedly critically injured in the crash.

“If it means putting lives at risk, stop the damn hunt. It’s just not worth the risk,” Clayton said Sunday, according to WBRZ. “This police officer has many questions to answer regarding his speed and sheer negligence. The public can rest assured, we will follow the facts.”

“That these kids haven’t been able to start the new year is inexcusable, but we’re following the facts first,” Clayton told the news agency. “I just can’t wrap my arms around why [Cautron] was driving at that speed in pursuit of this vehicle. This officer is facing some serious issues.”

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Maggie Dunn, 17, and Caroline Gill, 16, were killed after an officer in a high-speed chase crashed into their vehicle.

(Brusly upper secondary school)

Cauthron pursued Tyquel Zanders, who was accused of stealing a family member’s vehicle, according to the Post. Cauthron was driving nearly 90 miles per hour during the chase.

Witnesses say Cauthron ran a red light at the intersection where he hit Dunn and Gill, and that the light had been red for about 20 seconds, according to WBRZ.

Zanders continued to drive after Cauthron’s crash, but was apprehended soon after when his car stopped, according to The Advocate. He faces two counts of murder, theft of a motor vehicle, home invasion and aggravated flight from a police officer.

“He set the chain of events in motion,” Clayton told the paper. “He’s responsible for all the reactions to his actions. He faces two counts, and if the poor kid doesn’t survive, he’ll face another.”

The Addis Police Department, which employed Cauthron, and the girls’ high school mourned the loss on social media.

“Addis PD is deeply saddened by the tragic accident that occurred. We wish to extend our sincere condolences to the Dunn and Gill families,” the police department wrote.

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Zanders, 24, faces up to 100 years in prison if convicted of his charges.

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