Blaming both drivers for fatal cop chase makes no sense


Sgt. Andrew Brumm of the State Patrol Major Crash Reconstruction Unit said he “found nothing in his investigation to indicate that the Minneapolis police officer Joshua Young saw the oncoming motorcyclist Ivan Romero.” So what does this tell us? It really tells us nothing except that maybe Young didn’t see Romero because he didn’t give himself enough time to adequately look.

The Star Tribune November 15 article “No charges in fatal cop chase” says that according to the crash reconstruction report, the collision was the fault of both drivers.” If it was an SUV running a red light and a police officer on a motorcycle going through the green light, and the cop crashes into the SUV, it is safe to say the reconstruction report would not fault both drivers.

Most of the blame for Romero’s death, which happened on the day of the Terrance Franklin killing, is being put on Romero. The police are kicking around a dead man to protect themselves from being sued by his family.

Romero was “driving three mph faster than the speed limit…was not wearing a helmet…did not have a MN drivers license or motorcycle permit…” and the best blame-Romero statement: “a possible factor was that Romero’s inexperience caused him to tip the bike over moments before the crash, preventing him from fully applying the brakes and possibly avoiding the crash.”

Are there any citizens of Minneapolis that believe Romero could be blamed for his own death? Amazing how many things they can come up with to blame a person for an accident when they were driving along obeying all traffic laws. How do they even know Romero was at 33 mph instead of 30? Pathetic that they are being critical of Romero’s crash technique, to say that he didn’t know how to handle it or how to drive a motorcycle.

He was handling his motorcycle just fine until Young illegally got in his way. Maybe the reality is that Joshua Young is worse at being a responsible police officer than Romero was at operating a motorcycle. The Tribune article said Young had a “reputation for heroics on the job.” Was he trying to be a hero, and then his ego put Romero’s life in danger?

“The Franklin shooting and Romero crash amounted to a major test for Chief Harteau.” Brainstorming to come up with excuses to blame Romero for his own death is hardly a test, more of a work of art.

Prosecutors determined “that Young took appropriate precautions when crossing against a red light, including slowing down to check for traffic.” The report said, “Young slowed to 16 to 17 mph entering the intersection, and then accelerated and driving 24 to 26 mph as he was about to leave the intersection” How is this physically possible, to enter an intersection at 16 to 17 mph and then, while still in the intersection, accelerate to 24 to 26 mph?

If anyone, including the police, cross against a red light and are struck by someone proceeding through the green light — no excuses. It is 100 percent the fault of the party going through the red light.

Young did not adequately look, Romero did absolutely nothing wrong, and there is no right way to crash into a police vehicle that is going against a red light “Oh-oh, he did it wrong, he should have crashed this way, not that way.”


Frank Erickson lives in Minneapolis.