On October 12, 2017, 1-year old Seyaira Stephens died from her injuries as the result from an off-duty police officer crashing into the vehicle at a high rate of speed.
According to BRPD spokesman Sgt. L’Jean McKneely, “An off-duty Baton Rouge police officer was driving a Corvette that was involved in the crash, along with one other vehicle, which flipped.”
Baton Rouge police spokesman Sgt. Don Coppola and East Baton Rouge Coroner Dr. Beau Clark also both said that the child died of blunt force trauma secondary to a motor vehicle collision.
Officer Christopher Manuel, 28, of the Baton Rouge Police Department (BRPD) was identified as the officer who was involved in the fatal crash.
Christopher Manuel was driving a 2007 Chevrolet Corvette traveling north on Airline Highway when he struck a Nissan at the intersection at Florline Boulevard. The vehicle was occupied by four adults and three children.
FAST FORWARD 4 months LATER!!
Friday, February 24, 2018, officer Christopher Manuel was arrested and charged with negligent homicide. Manuel was accused of driving 94 mph when he struck the Nissan that killed an infant and injured six others.
According to a BRPD investigator, “Through mathematic calculation I was able to determine that the speed of the Corvette at the time of the crash was 94 mph, this was also confirmed by a download of the Corvettes Airbag Control Module. The speed limit was 50 mph!”
“Manuel, of 8508 Greenwell Springs Road, was booked into East Baton Rouge Parish Prison on a count of negligent homicide and speeding. Manuel had been with the Baton Rouge Police Department for five years and worked in the uniform patrol division. Manuel will remain on paid leave until after an internal investigation is concluded”, said Sgt. L’Jean McKneely.
According to the Parish Prison, Manuel was later released from Parish Prison after he posted a $15,000 bail.
FAST FORWARD 3 days LATER after the officer was arrested!!
Brittany Stephens, 20, mother of the infant that was killed by officer Manuel was arrested Tuesday, February 27, 2018. According to Sgt. L’Jean McKneely, “lack of securing the seat to the vehicle and the loose straps are a contributing factor in the death” of the child and “show gross negligence” on the mother’s part.
However, according to the police report, Stephens was not the driver and she said she secured the baby in the car seat before the accident. Police spokesman Sgt. L’Jean McKneely said she was arrested because she “was the person responsible for the buckling of the car seat.”
Stephens was booked Tuesday into Parish Prison on one count each of negligent homicide and seat belt violation.
The three other adults in the car with Stephens were also issued traffic citations according to McKneely.
This is by far the most uncommon practice I have EVER seen regarding a car accident. I totally agree that the officer should have been arrested because he was driving 94mph on a 50mph highway. But what concerns me is the justification to charge the mother with the exact same crime. According to the police report, the driver of the Nissan was driving south on Airline Highway and attempted to make a left turn onto Florline Boulevard where there was a green light. The Corvette, which also had a green light, struck the passenger side of the Nissan, causing it to roll over.
HOW DID BOTH CARS HAVE A GREEN LIGHT? The report does not distinguish which person had the right away.
Police said the “lack of securing the seat to the vehicle and the loose straps are a contributing factor in the death” of the child and “show gross negligence” on the mother’s part.
SO WHAT SORT OF INVESTIGATION TOOK PLACE TO DETERMINE THAT THE STRAPS WERE LOOSE? WHY DID IT TAKE 4 MONTHS LATER TO ARREST THE MOTHER?
According to the report, the mother was not the driver during the fatal crash and she also stated that the child was securely strapped at the time of the accident. Police spokesman Sgt. L’Jean McKneely said she was arrested because she “was the person responsible for the buckling of the car seat.”
HOW DID BRPD DETERMINE THE STRAPS BEING TOO LOOSE?
Did they simulate a child in a car seat at the same weight and height as the child who was killed?
Did they consider that the straps might have loosened on the impact of the vehicle?
Did we completely ignore the fact that the officer was going 94 mph in a 50 mph speed limit?
Why wasn’t the officer charged with Vehicular manslaughter?
Is this a FAILED attempt to distract the reading audience on what really happened or trying to cover up a department that consistently gets RIGHT at doing a lot of things WRONG?
It just seems like another case of bad press for the BRPD who has failed at trying to keep a transparent resume with the community that it serves in.
Many QUESTIONS but only so FEW Answers!!
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