LONGMONT, Colo. (AP) - A man accused of killing a Colorado State Patrol cadet and injuring a trooper during a May high-speed chase says the CSP violated its own policies during the pursuit and he wants some of the evidence thrown out.
Attorneys for Christopher Gebers say CSP Sgt. James Hirth did not follow patrol procedures when he attempted to stop Gebers. They say Hirth had no reason to pull over Gebers.
Prosecutors said Hirth had reasonable suspicion to stop Gebers because his vehicle had blue headlights, which are illegal in Colorado on most civilian vehicles, the Longmont Times-Call reported (https://tinyurl.com/jx9cxg5 ).
Gebers is charged with first-degree murder and attempted murder in the May 23 death of cadet Taylor Thyfault and the serious injury of Trooper Clinton Rushing during the chase.
Prosecutors say Gebers was fleeing a traffic stop when he came upon an unrelated crash west of Longmont and struck Rushing and Thyfault.
The defense filed a motion in Boulder District Court asking for evidence to be tossed out. They said Hirth should have discontinued the pursuit. The defense also said Rushing violated policy and procedure when he deployed stop sticks on the roadway at the unrelated crash site and caused Gebers to crash.
Hirth told investigators Gebers reached speeds of 100 mph after he fled when Hirth tried to pull him over.
Gebers blamed the chase and crash on a stuck accelerator, but authorities said in a report the only problems with the car involved the brakes.
A new policy says troopers should use stop sticks only when there is sufficient protection, like a bridge or guardrail.
Trooper Josh Lewis said stop sticks can be effective.
“Part of it is making sure officers are trained, and if necessary, retrained to safely utilize stop sticks,” he said. “That will go to about any type of training we have.”
The state patrol promoted Thyfault to the rank of trooper after his death. Rushing has returned to work, on light duty.
Information from: Daily Times-Call, https://timescall.com/
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