Even her superiors did not seem to notice that Florida Highway Patrol officer Vanessa Franceschi chased and caught the wrong car after she was rear-ended by a hit-and-run driver while conducting a traffic stop on another car last April.
Or if they did, they decided to ignore it and focus instead on her "improper driving tactics," including how she failed to activate her sirens for almost three minutes into the pursuit, a decision that created national outcry among the Blue Lives Matter crowd.
But a closer inspection of the video from her dashcam which was released last week appears to show the car that screeches away from her in the seconds after she was struck from behind appears to be a Toyota Prius with black backing (I initially called it a Civic but was corrected by readers).
And the car she ended up catching after a pursuit that lasted several minutes was a white Honda Civic with no black backing, making an already crazy story even crazier.
In fact, the car that struck her had pulled over to the side of the road when the trooper sped past it in pursuit of the white Honda Civic which came out of nowhere. Literally.
The trooper's dashcam video first catches sight of the Honda Civic after she pulls onto the highway to begin her pursuit.
The Civic is in the far right lane pulling away from a black SUV that had just passed the trooper when she was parked on the side of the road.
However, the video does not show the Civic in front of the SUV when it passed her but it does show the fleeing Toyota Prius hatchback in front of it by several car lengths seconds after it struck the patrol car.
So where did the Honda Civic come from?
It appears as if the coupe had been parked on the side of the road just ahead of her traffic stop and decided to merge back into traffic when Franceschi did after being struck.
But at no point in the video does it clearly show the white Honda Civic passing the trooper on its left side when she was parked behind the car she had pulled over, even though it does show the white Toyota Prius hatchback speeding away along with countless other cars speeding by, some which are white and may be the coupe, but nothing definite.
And the longer version of the video showing Franceschi initiate the traffic stop on the first car shows there is no white Honda Civic parked on the side of the road.
I know there has to be a logical explanation but the only thing I can think of is that it was one of those white cars that sped past her during her stop, only to pull over on the side of the road and wait for her to initiate a pursuit, but then that would mean he would have to know she was going to be struck from behind, which is a rabbit hole I'm not ready to go down.
But I've watched that video repeatedly to the point where I gained an appreciation for the trooper's music playing insider her car while she's talking to the other driver and there is nothing suggesting she was struck by the Honda Civic.
Police said the man they arrested who was driving the coupe, Raumel Quintero, 20, confessed he intentionally struck the trooper's car. He was charged with aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer and leaving the scene of a crash with injuries.
And it certainly appears he intentionally led the trooper on the pursuit but why?
There are just so many unanswered questions:
- Did Quintero really admit to striking her car?
- If he didn't do it, then why did he lead the trooper on such a dramatic chase, knowing he will likely not outrun her in a Civic?
- How come there is no sign of Quintero's car in the opening minutes of the video as cars pass her by, but he seems to be parked on the side of the road waiting for her to chase him after she puts the car into drive ?
- How can investigating officers not realize she chased the wrong car when seeing no damage on Quintero's car consistent with the collision?
- Does Franceschi realize now she chased the wrong driver?
- Who was driving the Toyota Prius hatchback and did they strike the trooper intentionally?
- Is this a huge screwup by the Florida Highway Patrol or a huge coverup (not much of a coverup considering they released the full video)?
- Or am I the one missing something here because none of this is adding up for me?
Like all the other reporters, I did not realize what had taken place until a sharp-eyed reader named Paul Ess-dot Smith pointed it out in a comment on our Facebook page where we had posted the video.
At first, I thought he was imagining things because how could we have missed something so obvious? But when I checked out the video, I realized he was right.
It's completely understandable how Franceschi would believe it was the coupe that struck her when he started speeding away upon seeing her but it's been nearly two months and has she realized her mistake?
I placed screenshots below as well as edited a video to highlight this discrepancy but I've included the full video here without edits so you can see for yourself.
UPDATE: A reader pointed out that the car that struck her is a Toyota Prius, not a Honda Civic.
UPDATE II: Several readers are saying I am wrong in my analysis so if that's the case, I will admit my mistake but as I said, I've watched the video countless times.
UPDATE III: Readers are suggesting the Honda driver passed her on the right, which was something I had thought of before, but I never saw it on the right side. Readers, however, say there is a shadow that indicates it could be the Honda.