New York trooper charged with murder after 11-year-old Brooklyn girl killed in police pursuit

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Thursday, October 28, 2021
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Trooper Christopher Baldner has been charged after a pursuit on the New York State Thruway that led to the death of an 11-year-old girl from Brooklyn.

BROOKLYN (WABC) -- A state trooper has been charged after a pursuit on the New York State Thruway that led to the death of an 11-year-old girl from Brooklyn.

Trooper Christopher Baldner was indicted Wednesday on charges of murder, manslaughter and reckless endangerment for his role in a Dec. 22, 2020, crash that killed Monica Goods, of Brooklyn.

Goods' father was driving his wife and two daughters to visit relatives before Christmas when the trooper stopped him for speeding in the town of Ulster, about 95 miles north of New York City.

State police have said the father fled shortly after the traffic stop, resulting in a chase. Baldner allegedly struck the Goods' SUV from behind before it hit a guardrail and flipped.

Monica Goods was ejected from the SUV and pronounced dead at the scene.

"She could make anybody laugh, it doesn't matter how you felt and it's sad, it hurts that we don't have that no more," said Goods' mother Michelle Surrency. "We were robbed and it's not fair. It's not fair."

Surrency said she lost two children that day because her other daughter, Tristina, will never be the same.

"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," said Attorney General Letitia James. "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."

Additionally, an indictment alleges that, in September of 2019, Baldner similarly endangered the lives of three passengers by using his police vehicle to ram their car.

"There were two prior events in which he rammed cars from behind, which became evidence before this grand jury," attorney Sanford Rubenstein said. "Clearly this state trooper never should've been on duty at the time this happened. Apparently there was a pattern here of him using this technique to ram cars."

State police said Baldner surrendered Wednesday morning and was suspended without pay. Police said they investigated the matter and cooperated with the attorney general's office and will continue to do so.

New York State Troopers Police Benevolent Association President Thomas H. Mungeer released the following statement:

"The New York State Troopers Police Benevolent Association sends our condolences to the family of the child who died in the December 2020 crash. We respect the legal process and are preparing for the next step, which will be to provide legal representation to the involved Trooper, a right afforded to every American citizen tried by a jury of peers. As this case makes its way through the legal system, we look forward to a review and public release of the facts, including the motorist's reckless actions that started this chain of events."

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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