A New York state trooper on Wednesday was charged with murder, manslaughter and reckless endangerment over the death of a girl that occurred during a high-speed chase last year, New York’s Attorney General Letitia James announced.
Christopher Baldner rammed his car twice into that of Tristin Goods and April Goods last December near Kingston, N.Y., resulting in their car flipping over multiple times. After being hit by Baldner's police vehicle, the car went over a guardrail and into the New York State Thruway's southbound lanes.
Monica Goods, 11, died after being ejected from the vehicle, which landed upside down. The family was on their way to visit relatives for Christmas.
"Police officers are entrusted to protect and serve, but Trooper Baldner allegedly violated that trust when he used his car as a deadly weapon and killed a young girl," James said in a press release shared by her office.
"While nothing will bring Monica back, we must hold law enforcement to the highest standards, which is why my office is committed to seeking justice in this case," she added.
The incident began after an argument broke out between Tristin Goods and Baldner. April Goods requested to speak with Baldner's manager, after which the trooper reportedly sprayed pepper spray into the car. Tristin Goods then took off, with Baldner in pursuit.
Baldner reportedly endangered the lives of three people in September of 2019 using a similar maneuver with his police vehicle, James's office noted.
Baldner's hearing is set for Nov. 4. If found guilty of the murder charge brought against him, Baldner faces a maximum sentence of 25 years to life in prison.