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Grand jury indicts Addis police officer on manslaughter charges after chase that left teens dead

11 months 4 weeks 9 hours ago Friday, February 24 2023 Feb 24, 2023 February 24, 2023 11:20 AM February 24, 2023 in Crime
Source: WBRZ

PORT ALLEN - A grand jury charged an Addis police officer with manslaughter and malfeasance after a high-speed chase that left two teenage girls dead.

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A grand jury in West Baton Rouge formally charged 42-year-old David Cauthron on Friday, nearly two months after the Dec. 31 pursuit that killed 17-year-old Maggie Dunn and 16-year-old Caroline Gill. The crash also seriously hurt Liam Dunn, who was inside the car with the girls.

Cauthron additionally faces charges of aggravated obstruction of a highway, negligent injuring and reckless operation. Prosecutors said the malfeasance charge was based on him "conducting his duty in an unlawful manner."

The crash happened in Brusly while Cauthron was chasing after Tyquel Zanders, who was accused of stealing a family member's car in Baton Rouge before fleeing into the neighboring parish. Zanders was also indicted Friday on manslaughter charges.

Video obtained by WBRZ last month showed Cauthron speeding through a red light in his police unit and slamming into the side of the teens' car. Cauthron, an Addis police officer, had joined the chase as it made its way through West Baton Rouge and was leading the pursuit just seconds before the wreck.

Sources told the WBRZ Investigative Unit that Cauthron was going 86 miles per hour just before impact and that he did not use his brakes. District Attorney Tony Clayton said the video from inside Cauthron's vehicle was also critical in their case. 

"When the public and when the triers of facts see the totality of evidence, particularly his actions moments before the accident and impact, his comments, demeanor... goldfish will stop swimming," Clayton said last month. "That's how damning it is."

Family members of the victims were outside the courthouse Friday after the decision to indict Friday.

"I feel relieved. I feel like justice will be served," said Jason Gill, Caroline's father. "Nothing will ever take it away, but I think that justice needs to be served in this case." 

Cauthron was allowed to resign from the Addis Police Department weeks after the wreck, with the town council accepting his resignation earlier this month. 

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