In an odd turn of events, a 16-year-old was charged with a DUI in Washington after a Spokane police officer ran a red light, crashed into the teenager and then blamed him for the accident.
Officer Seth Killian, who has been awarded countless accolades throughout his law enforcement career, was distracted and ran a red light on December 8 crashing into the teenager’s vehicle.
He even admitted to being at fault in the moments after the crash.
“I screwed up, man,” a distraught Killian is heard telling another officer in a conversation captured on his body cam.
“I kinda felt a double hit,” he continues. “But, I don’t even remember seeing it to be honest with you.”
But nevertheless, he charged the unnamed teen with a DUI after accusing him of smelling like marijuana and having bloodshot, glossy eyes.
According to documents, the teen fessed up to smoking pot just two hours before the crash took place, although it is possible the teen was coerced into admitting that he was high, telling them he took “a couple of hits,” according to KHQ-TV.
And even though Killian was at fault, his fellow officers seemed more concerned with his wellbeing and damage to his patrol car than concerned with the 16-year-old, who was really the victim.
The Spokane Police Department, who refused to cite Killian, says they do not release it does not release the names of juveniles. More than a month later, Killian has not been placed on leave.
Despite the video evidence showing Killian clearly caused the accident, Internal Affairs Lt. Justin Lundgren said the Spokane Police Department is reviewing the case to see if Killian could have prevented the crash.
But, wait it gets better.
Killian was not drug tested and will not get tested. According to Spokane Police Department’s policy, cops involved in accidents only get tested if there is reasonable suspicion that they were impaired.
Yet, the Spokane Police Department is requesting a toxicology report to make sure the teenager was high during the time of the crash, even though he was driving the normal speed limit through a green traffic light when he was struck by Killian.
Talk about protecting and serving themselves.
KHQ-TV looked into the matter and spoke with Asst. Chief Craig Meidl, who says that despite not getting a citation, Killian will get disciplined.
According to KHQ-TV’s investigation, Killian could get a letter in his file, days off, have to cover the damages or get a ticket.
“Most Officers you will find will probably like to have a citation, pay the citation, and be done with it,” Meidl said.
“But again that is not the direction we want to go,” he added. “If it is going to be ongoing behavior and this person is either incapable or unwilling to change, then we have to make decisions whether this is someone who is really going to be with the Police Department.”
The Spokane Police Department confirmed to various media outlets, including the NY Daily News that Killian will not get a citation but will get a letter in his file for investigators to review at some point.
This is not the first incident on Killian’s file.
The Spokane Police Department recently cleared Killian in a shooting that took place August of 2014.
Killian, along with four other officers, were involved in a standoff that resulted in the fatal shooting of a man that was facing a federal warrant for a probation violation on firearms charges.
But instead of going into the details in the press release of what took place during the shooting death of Kevin McDaniels, the Spokane Police Department strategically glossed over that and focused on Killian’s “Medal of Valor,” and “Medal of Merit” after being with the Spokane Police Department since March of 2014 and previously with the Daytona Beach Police Department for over five years.
Although the Spokane Police Department is adamant about dropping the teen’s DUI charge, it is hard to prove that the teen was impaired to drive.
That is according to a federally funded study that determined that although “alcohol significantly increased lane departures and minimum and maximum lateral acceleration; these measures were not sensitive to cannabis.”
In other words, driving high does not impair a person’s ability to stay focused. In fact, the study says drivers on cannabis “may attempt to drive more cautiously to compensate for impairing effects” while “alcohol-influenced drivers often underestimate their impairment and take more risk.”
The study, put together by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the Office on National Drug Control Policy, the Federal Safety Regulator and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also chipped in to fund the study which concluded that “testing marijuana levels that reflect driving impairment remain elusive.”
Killian’s crash seems to be a trend of irresponsible law enforcement officials covering up car accidents they have caused.
Back in 2014 an officer with the El Paso Police Department in Texas ran a red light, causing a four-vehicle crash and forever changing the lives of multiple people.
Had it not been for Police dash cam footage, an innocent woman named Allyson Granados would have unfairly been forced to pay two tickets – one for speeding and one for running a red light – even though she has the one hit and had her back broken.
Granados turned to KFox14 for help and after releasing their story internal affairs finally looked into the matter. The news station also launched its own investigation and recovered the video footage that the El Paso Police Department was trying to keep secret a year after the accident took place.
“I don’t know how many times I’ve broken down and cried because I’m going up against the police department,” Granados said.
This is what the Police dash cam video shows. Rookie Officer Rucker is seen making a traffic stop and realizes that both passengers have traffic warrants. He places both women in the back of his patrol car and begins driving but realizes he is missing his ticket book, which he begins searching for. All of a sudden he crashes into Granados.
A man by the name of Richard Powell was in Granados’ passenger seat that evening. He told KFox14 he could not believe the cop flipped the script.
“The car spun around,” Powell said. “He said that we ran the red light when in all reality we had the green light and he had the red light.”
Nicole Austin, another driver who was hit that evening, said the same thing adding that all of those involved in the crash that night gave the Police the same statements.
“Everyone saw the exact same thing except for the officer,” she said. “It seemed law enforcement was the only one that saw things differently.”
Instead of owning up to what happened, officer Rucker and fellow officer Leilani Ramos attempted to cover up the accident. Ramos gave Granados both tickets.
Austin had her BMW totaled that night. After Rucker’s patrol car hit Granado’s car it spun and hit Austin’s vehicle.
“I just feel from right there they were trying to cover up that an officer had violated traffic rules,” said Austin, who had her mother in the passenger seat that night and recalls seeing the women who were detained in the back of Rucker’s squad injured and being placed in ambulances.
“They had blood running down their faces because they were handcuffed with their hands behind their back the entire time,” she recalls. “The first thing they started screaming [at Rucker] was ‘You ran the red light, I can’t believe you did this; my life was in your hands, you just ran that red light,’ they were screaming that,” Austin said.
Rucker was eventually questioned by internal affairs and admitted he may have caused the accident by running the red light resulting in a letter of reprimand on his file.
The El Paso Police Department did not discipline Ramos for writing Granados the bogus tickets and pinning the accident on her. They also did not pay the medical bills of the three people who ended up in the hospital that night.
And then there is the case of Tanya Weyker, 25, from Wisconsin who was hurt so badly after Milwaukee County Deputy Sheriff Joseph Quiles ran a red light, her neck was broken in four places back in February of 2013.
She was also arrested that evening for drunk driving even though she was stone-cold sober and blood tests proved so.
Deputy Quiles ran a red light near the General Mitchell International Airport and sent Weyker’s car spinning into a tree.
The police department has yet to pay her medical bills which topped one million dollars. After a lengthy legal battle with her lawyer the charges against Weyker were dropped, thanks to a video footage taken by an airport surveillance camera showing what actually happened.
As for deputy Quiles, he has not worked in over a year and has filed for permanent duty disability even though at the time of the crash is what documented he only suffered minor injuries.
And then there was the case from South Florida where two Hollywood cops, Joel Francisco and Dewey Pressley, ended up fired and serving 90-day sentences each after Francisco rear-ended a woman at a traffic light in 2009.
Claiming the woman was drunk, Pressley, who was Francisco’s supervisor, was captured on dash cam talking about how he will twist the facts to protect Francisco.
“I don’t want to make things up ever, because it’s wrong, but if I need to bend it a little bit to protect a cop, I’m gonna,” Pressley said. “We’ll do a little Walt Disney to protect the cop because it wouldn’t have mattered because she is drunk anyway.”