ALBANY (AP) — A state trooper who could be charged in a pursuit on the Thruway that led to the death of an 11-year-old girl was involved in two previous chases that also ended in collisions, according to Gov. Kathy Hochul.
Hochul said in an executive order signed Wednesday that a grand jury will be asked to consider charges against Trooper Christopher Baldner for his role in a Dec. 22, 2020, crash that killed Monica Goods, of Brooklyn. The order also said Baldner “engaged in prior similar conduct on two occasions” that led to collisions on the Thruway north of New York City in 2017 and 2019.
The executive order authorizes state Attorney General Letitia James, who is the special prosecutor in the 2020 case, to investigate and potentially seek charges related to the previous incidents. All three chases were on stretches of the highway in Ulster County in the Hudson Valley.
A spokesperson for the Police Benevolent Association of the New York State Troopers, which is providing legal representation for Baldner, said Friday it would not comment until the grand jury is finished.
Goods’ father and was driving his wife and two daughters to visit relatives 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.
Details about the previous episodes in 2017 and 2019 were not included in the executive order.
State police say Baldner is on active duty, but not on patrol.