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Minneapolis police officer cleared in fatal motorcycle-squad car crash

The Hennepin County Attorney’s Office has declined to issue criminal or misdemeanor charges against Minneapolis Police Officer Joshua Young, following a May 10 accident in which Ivan Romero-Olivares died after his motorcycle struck Young’s squad car.

The Minneapolis Police Department’s Internal Affairs unit also has concluded that no disciplinary action will be taken against Young after an investigation by the Minnesota State Patrol.

“This is not a case of a high-speed response in which an officer ran a red light in a reckless manner,” Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau said Thursday in announcing the results of the investigation.

“This is a case of an officer responding to a call for help, using caution, traveling well below the posted speed, properly using red lights and a siren,” said Harteau, noting that the squad car was “struck by a motorcyclist who already lost control.”

The report by the State Patrol says Romero-Oliveras was driving over the posted speed limit and had limited experience operating a motorcycle. He did not have a motorcycle endorsement or permit. He also failed to yield to an emergency vehicle.

The Minneapolis Police Department further discovered that Romero-Oliveras did not have a valid Minnesota driver’s license.

The State Patrol also concluded that Young failed to exercise due care in passing through an intersection against a red light.

The accident occurred following the shooting of a robbery suspect and two police officers in the basement of a private home in 2700 block of Bryant Avenue South. Young was responding to a request by an officer at the scene of the shootings for additional help to secure the crime area, according to police records.

Young was driving one of three squad cars headed west on 26th Street when he encountered a red light at Blaisdell, a one-way street.

The report from the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office said a witness to the accident reported that all of the other cars on Blaisdell were stopped when a motorcycle drove past and hit the squad car.

“This is not an example of an officer being over the line and needing to have behavior corrected,” said Harteau. “Even when using discretionary action, the potential outcomes are there for tragedy.”

Comments (1)

  1. Submitted by Tim Walker on 11/14/2013 - 04:00 pm.

    The squad car video, taken by the dash cam of the cop car following Officer Young’s vehicle, is quite revealing and demonstrate to me that the Minneapolis Police Department’s investigation reached the right conclusion.

    My sympathies go out to the motorcyclist’s family. He made a mistake, several really, and sadly, they were fatal for him.

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