ULSTER, N.Y. (AP) — A father whose 11-year-old daughter was killed last December when a police car crashed into their vehicle says the New York state trooper who crashed had pepper-sprayed his family and rammed into the SUV twice at high speed.
“What did I do? What threat did I pose?” Tristin Goods asked in a Daily News interview about the Dec. 22, 2020, encounter with Trooper Christopher Baldner.
The confrontation started when Goods, a 39-year-old Brooklyn resident, drove his wife two daughters to visit relatives. The trooper stopped Goods for speeding in the town of Ulster, about 95 miles north of New York City.
The state police said in a news release that Goods fled the scene shortly after the traffic stop, resulting in a police chase. Then “a collision occurred” between the trooper’s car and the family’s SUV, causing the vehicle to overturn, authorities said. His 11-year-old daughter was ejected from the SUV and pronounced dead at the scene.
Goods told the Daily News that after the initial traffic stop, Baldner demanded to know if there were “guns or drugs” in his vehicle. The trooper then flooded the SUV with pepper spray, Goods said. He said his daughters were crying and he feared for his family’s safety and drove off instinctively.
Goods said Baldner gave chase and rammed the back of his SUV twice. Monica was killed, and her sister, Tristina, was injured.
“It is just so hurtful. The guy was crazy,” Goods said of the trooper.
State Attorney General Letitia James announced an investigation into the death on December 28. State police spokesperson William Duffy told the newspaper that Baldner remains assigned to desk duty. Duffy declined further comment, citing the investigation and an internal probe.