The Spokane police officer who hit a teenage driver after running a red light in December wasn’t properly trained on using a new patrol car, an internal investigation concluded.
Officer Seth Killian didn’t have his overhead lights on when he ran a red light while driving south on North Ash Street the evening of Dec. 8, the report says. Killian hit another car and caused $10,000 in damage to a new Chevrolet Tahoe patrol car. He was wearing a seat belt and going 31 mph at the time of the crash, the report says.
Body camera video from officers who responded to the crash showed Killian admitting fault, saying, “I screwed up, man.” According to police reports from the scene of the crash, Killian said the car’s tire pressure monitoring system had been beeping at him all night and he may have been trying to look at the system on his dashboard when he ran the light.
In the report, Lt. Joseph Walker agrees Killian is at fault, but adds, “There are extenuating circumstances. Officer Killian was assigned this vehicle without any prior training in this new model patrol vehicle. The … training model has always been to train officers prior to putting new model patrol vehicles into service.”
Killian was found to have caused a preventable collision. He will receive some type of discipline, said police spokeswoman Officer Teresa Fuller, but it has not been formally issued yet.
Fuller said the department will correct the issues that led to Killian being issued a vehicle without training.
“There won’t be a next time for this. They’ll make sure there’s a system in place to make sure officers driving those vehicles are trained,” she said. All department crashes are reviewed, whether the officer is at fault or not, she said.
“We’re trained to drive. That’s what we do for most of our day. There’s always ways to improve that training,” she said.
Fuller said the vehicle was assigned to Killian by one of the officers who worked at fleet services, but declined to name the person.
Killian hit a car driven by a 16-year-old boy who was later charged with driving under the influence of marijuana. Officers on scene noticed the teenager’s car smelled strongly of the drug, and he was charged following a blood test, court records show.
The boy had minor injuries and was treated at a hospital and released. Killian was not injured and was not drug tested after the crash.
Eds Note: This story has been modified to correct a quote that should have been attributed to Lt. Joseph Walker.
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