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Police officer involved in deadly chase released from jail on $100K bond a week after his arrest
BRUSLY - An Addis police officer is facing criminal charges after striking and killing two teenage girls during a high-speed chase of a suspect Saturday, according to District Attorney Tony Clayton.
Officials told WBRZ that officer David Cauthron, 42, was arrested and booked Sunday night (Jan. 1) on two counts of negligent homicide and one count of negligent injuring.
Exactly a week after his arrest, Cauthron was released from jail on a $100,000 bond, according to jail records.
"That cop has a lot of questions to answer pertaining to his speed and sheer negligence," Clayton said earlier that same day. "The public can rest assured, we will follow the facts."
Sources told WBRZ that the GPS inside Cauthron's vehicle showed he was going about 86 miles per hour and did not hit his brakes before impact. Witnesses said Cauthron ran a red light and that the light had been red for about 20 seconds when his police unit reached the intersection.
The police unit struck the victims' car, pushing it into the median of the highway. Two of the occupants, 17-year-old Maggie Dunn and 16-year-old Caroline Gill, were pronounced dead, and a third victim, Dunn's teenage brother, was taken to a hospital in critical condition. Sources said the teens were heading to a store just minutes from home.
Investigators reviewed dash camera video and other footage from the crash before deciding to arrest Cauthron. He joined Addis Police in February 2022 and previously worked at the Pointe Coupee Parish Sheriff's Office.
"For these kids to not to have been able to start the New Year is inexcusable, but we'll follow the facts first," Clayton told the news outlet. "I just can't put my arms around why (the officer) was driving at that rate of speed in pursuit of this vehicle. This officer is facing some serious issues."
Clayton has also inquired with the Baton Rouge Police Department about why the pursuit was deemed necessary in Baton Rouge over a home invasion and stolen vehicle, according to a report from The Advocate.
"If it involves putting human life in danger, stop the damn pursuit," Clayton said. "It's just not worth the risk."
The crash happened on LA 1 in Brusly while officers were pursuing suspect Tyquel Zanders. The chase started in a Baton Rouge neighborhood when Zanders stole a family member's vehicle.
Zanders led authorities through East and West Baton Rouge parishes, and police ultimately stopped Zanders on I-10, near Dalrymple Drive, after he made it back into the capital city. Prosecutors said he will also face additional charges for the deadly crash.
"He put the chain of events into play," Clayton told The Advocate. "He's responsible for all the reactions to his actions. He's facing two counts, and if that poor kid doesn't survive, he'll face another."
Clayton said the laws surrounding police chases may need to be changed in light of Saturday's crash and his office would pursue all information before deciding if the Addis officer should be charged, according to the news outlet.
"I want the public to have confidence in its DA's office that we will follow the facts, and we should let the facts lead us to whatever the outcome should be," Clayton said.
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