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Police and Law Enforcement Home  >  Police News  >  Trooper Charged with Homicide for Accident

 

Trooper Charged with Homicide for Accident

Police and Law Enforcement News
Wednesday, February 28, 2007 11:20 a.m.

The New Jersey law enforcement community was shocked Tuesday after learning that at a state trooper has been indicted on two counts of vehicular homicide.

The indictment stems from an accident last September when Trooper Robert Higbee was involved in a fatal motor vehicle accident while trying to catch up to a speeder. 

 

According to investigators, Trooper Higbee ran a stop sign and collided with a minivan.  The occupants of the minivan, Jacqueline Becker, 17, and Christina Becker, 19, both died as a result of the accident.

Cape May County Prosecutor Robert Taylor said that information from the patrol car's "black box" was critical to the investigation.  This device, also known as an event data recorder (EDR), can record a vehicle's speed, engine output, position of the gas pedal, whether the brakes are applied, and whether the seat belt was being used at the time of impact.

The State Police Fraternal Association has already released a statement on the indictments expressing heartfelt sympathy for family and friends of the two sisters but questioning the direction of the investigation.

Below is a portion of their press release:

Today’s decision by the Cape May County prosecutor to indict Trooper Rob Higbee, knowing full well that he was performing his sworn duties and operating under his mandate to apprehend violators and in full compliance with the Attorney General guidelines for attempting to stop a violator, appears to fly in the face of the criminal statute, past practice, precedent and current case law. Trooper Higbee’s operation of his troop car, which resulted in this tragedy, is woefully devastating but not criminal. It sends a message to everyone in law enforcement that, despite the rules that are in place, if you make an honest but tragic mistake, you will be fighting for your freedom just for trying to do your job.

Trooper Higbee's attorney also spoke with reporters.  From the Newark Star Ledger:

Reached later by telephone, Subin said Higbee had clocked a car doing 65 mph in a 35-mph zone and was trying to "close the distance" with that car, but did not use lights or sirens because state guidelines called for him to wait until he was close enough to identify and safely pull over the violator.

Trooper Higbee faces up to twenty years in state prison if convicted.

 

Police and Law Enforcement News
Wednesday, February 28, 2007 11:20 a.m.

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