By Associated Press - Saturday, April 8, 2017

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - The State Bureau of Investigation says it has opened an investigation into an N.C. Highway Patrol trooper’s attempt to stop a fleeing minivan that ended in a crash last week in which two teenage girls were killed.

Eight-year veteran Trooper D. A. Motsinger attempted a “precise immobilization technique,” or PIT maneuver, to stop a speeding Dodge minivan whose driver refused to pull over in Union County on March 28, The Charlotte Observer reported Saturday (https://bit.ly/2oNRFnm ).

The PIT maneuver is an intentional collision by the trooper with the fleeing vehicle. It’s designed to lift the rear wheels off the pavement and make the vehicle spin out. Experts say the move can be very effective, but note that minivans are top-heavy and have small tires, making them more likely to flip.

According to authorities, the minivan left U.S. 74 just across the Anson County line and flipped several times. Three of the four teenagers inside were thrown from the vehicle.

Maria Lopez Carbajal - her obituary listed her name as Maria Asucena Carbijal Lopez - died at the scene. Passenger Kandy Casterjon died at a hospital after the crash. A third passenger was seriously hurt.



The SBI said all four occupants of the van, including its driver, were 15. Highway Patrol policy on forced vehicle stops says the PIT maneuver should not be used unless the officer “reasonably believes there are no children or other innocent passengers occupying the violator vehicle.”

Spokeswoman Patty McQuillan said the results of the SBI investigation will be given to the local prosecutor, who will decide whether the trooper’s actions were justified.

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Information from: The Charlotte Observer, https://www.charlotteobserver.com

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