BOULDER COUNTY, Colo. — The 20th Judicial District Attorney’s Office announced Tuesday that no criminal charges can or should be filed against a trooper involved in a fatal crash that resulted in the death of a 16-year-old.
According to an earlier release from the Longmont Police Department (LPD), Colorado State Trooper Tim Kride was trying to stop a stolen vehicle near 21st Avenue and Francis Street at around 7:25 a.m. on April 23 when the vehicle took off and crashed into a tree after a tactical vehicle intervention (TVI) by the trooper. The driver of the stolen vehicle, identified as 16-year-old Mason Farnsworth, died in the crash after the driver's side smashed into the tree.
According to an LPD spokesperson, a TVI is similar to a pit maneuver, where a law enforcement officer pushes a corner of the car to cause it to spin out.
The DA's office said that, at the time, Kridel initiated the TVI because he had reason to believe that Farnsworth was driving a stolen car, fleeing from the police and that the stolen car might contain weapons.
At the time of the TVI, Farnsworth attempted to accelerate out of contact with Kridel’s police vehicle and flee from the police. The DA's office said evidence shows that the intended consequence of the TVI was to end the pursuit by forcing the stolen car to come to a stop in the roadway rather than engaging in a high-speed chase in a residential area of Longmont.
Instead of the car turning counterclockwise to a stop as intended and because Farnsworth accelerated out of the spin, the car slid sideways across the road and collided with a tree on the driver’s side door, the DA's office said. A crush analysis showed that the minimum speed at which the Saturn impacted the tree was at least between 19 mph and 24 mph.
The DA's office said at the time of the pursuit, Kridel was unaware of the identity or age of the driver of the stolen car and acted in accordance with his training, Therefor, Kridel’s use of force was reasonably necessary to effectuate a felony arrest of a fleeing suspect and did not violate the criminal laws of Colorado, the DA said.
“Mr. Farnsworth’s death was tragic. It happened so quickly and, although the Trooper’s conduct was legally justified under Colorado law, this brief encounter ended Mr. Farnsworth’s life and will forever impact his family," District Attorney Michael Dougherty said in the news release. "Whenever a person dies from an interaction with law enforcement, the family and our community deserve a thorough investigation. For that reason, I truly appreciate the exhaustive work of the multi-agency Critical Incident Team.
Farnsworth had a younger passenger in the car at the time of the incident, the DA's office said.
>> The DA’s detailed findings and the video presentation prepared by the Critical Incident Team can be found here.
>> Community members interested in discussing the detailed findings can join a meeting with the DA's Office at 3:30 pm on Friday, July 10. Questions can be submitted in advance through firstname.lastname@example.org. The link to join the meeting is tinyurl.com/yavxk5ge. Community members are also welcome to call into the meeting at 720-400-7859, Conference ID: 13798519#.
SUGGESTED VIDEOS: Local stories from 9NEWS