An investigation has determined that a motorcyclist, not a Minneapolis police officer, was at fault for a May 10 crash that killed the motorcyclist, the Minneapolis Police Department announced Thursday.
The investigation found that Officer Joshua Young was travelling “well below” the posted speed limit, properly using his red lights and siren when responding to a separate incident in which two officers were shot and a suspect was killed.
“This is not a case of a high speed response in which an officer ran through a red light as has been eluded to and reported,” Chief Janeé Harteau said in remarks at City Hall.
A State Patrol accident reconstruction determined that the squad car was traveling less than 16 mph just before the crash and 24 to 26 mph near the point of impact.
The motorcyclist, Ivan Romeras-Olivares, was traveling between 32 and 34 mph. He tried to break. However, the rear tire locked and Romeras-Olivares tried to steer to the right before entering the intersection.
Since the tire was locked, the motorcycle lost much of its stability and slid out. In contrast to earlier reports that the officer hit the motorcyclist, the investigation determined that the out-of-control motorcycle slid into the rear of the squad car. The investigator found no indication that Officer Young saw the motorcycle before the impact.
Romero-Oliveras was killed in the crash and his girlfriend, Joselin Torrejon-Vilamil, who was on the motorcycle with him, was hurt.
The investigator found that Romero-Oliveras did not have a motorcycle endorsement or permit, and Minneapolis police determined that he didn’t have a valid driver’s license of any kind.
The investigation also concluded that he was speeding and had failed to yield to an emergency vehicle as required by law.
The Hennepin County Attorney’s Office reviewed this case for consideration of criminal charges and declined to issue any charges. It concluded there was insufficient evidence that Young was guilty of reckless or careless driving.