Topic: State trooper incident
This is a very sad story for the fact there aren't any winners and NO evil people...just a evil situation...
Trooper Higbee was speeding up (what they call bridging the gap) to catch up to a speeder (who was only going 15 miles over the speed limit) and he ran a stop sign (claims he didn't see it in time) and crashed into a mini-van that had the two teen sisters in it...plus hit another mini-van injuring the two (a father and son) in it!!! I will put the whole story at the bottom... The trooper is charged with two counts of vehicular homicide... I have been following the case everyday now... You can't help but feel for both sides...But I tend to lean towards the mother who lost both of her daughters and only children because someone who is of the law forgot to abide by it by NOT being more focused and watching and observing traffic...:(
A New Jersey state trooper who authorities said ran a stop sign in his cruiser and collided with a minivan, killing two teenage sisters, was indicted by a Cape May County grand jury yesterday on two counts of vehicular homicide.
Trooper Robert Higbee was charged in the Sept. 27, 2006, deaths of Jacqueline Becker, 17, and Christina Becker, 19. Cape May County Prosecutor Robert Taylor announced the indictments were returned after an "exhaustive joint investigation" by his office and the New Jersey State Police
In a prepared statement, Taylor said information from the cruiser's "black box," which recorded the vehicle's speed, engine output, accelerator position, braking and other information, was critical to the investigation.
D. William Subin, a lawyer representing Higbee, called the deaths of the two girls "very tragic," but said that indicting the trooper on criminal charges is "a further tragedy and injustice." He said Higbee is not guilty of any criminal wrongdoing.
"This was not criminal reckless conduct because Trooper Higbee was justified in and required to do his duty in attempting to apprehend a violator," Subin said in a prepared statement.
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.
The prosecutor's statement made no reference to a pursuit.
State Police Capt. Albert Della Fave said the investigation into the accident "was thorough, meticulous and professionally performed. The Cape May County prosecutor was given full access to every detail of the case to ensure an objective investigation."
The prosecutor's office said the two death-by-auto counts are each punishable by up to 10 years in state prison.
David Jones, president of the State Troopers Fraternal Association of New Jersey, issued a statement offering condolences to the victims' family and challenging the indictment as appearing "to fly in the face of the criminal statute, past practice, precedent and current case law."
Jones said he will defend Higbee's innocence and believes the facts will show the trooper did not violate any criminal statute.
"No trooper, no police officer, should be offered up for political expediency because of a horrible, but very human, mistake," Jones said. He said he believes Higbee, 34, who has been on restricted duty since returning to work after the crash, will be suspended without pay now that he has been indicted.
The State Police said a preliminary investigation showed Higbee was on patrol in his marked 2005 Ford Crown Victoria when he failed to stop at a stop sign at the intersection of Stagecoach and Old Tuckahoe roads in the Marmora section of Upper Township and collided with the Beckers' 2002 Dodge Caravan minivan about 10 p.m. Sept. 27.
Jacqueline Becker was driving and her sister, Christina, was in the front seat. Christina was not wearing a seat belt. After Higbee's cruiser hit the minivan, the minivan collided with a third vehicle, a Mazda minivan, that was stopped at the intersection. The two sisters suffered fatal head injuries when they were partially ejected.
Higbee was charged in October 2006 with failure to stop and careless driving in connection with the accident. Those charges will be handled by the prosecutor's office in conjunction with the pending criminal charges.
Both sisters lived with their mother, Maria, in the township's Seaville section and were her only children. Higbee, a trooper since April 2001 who had been stationed at the Woodbine barracks for about four months at the time of the crash, was hospitalized for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries.
Jacqueline was a senior at Ocean City High School who earned honors and was active in drama, student council and the history club.
Christina had graduated from the same high school and was working at a pharmacy. She also had enrolled at Richard Stockton College, where she planned to study forensic science.