The Albuquerque Police Department unveiled a plaque Tuesday for a young woman killed by a police officer in a crash. The plaque was part of a settlement with the department after the deadly collision.
It was an emotional afternoon as family and friends gathered to honor Ashley Browder at the Albuquerque Police Academy in the North Valley.
The city settled the lawsuit for $8.5 million, but the family wanted more than just money — they wanted Ashley Browder to be remembered, and they wanted every officer who comes through the academy to remember how she died.
“Ashley’s death is felt keenly every day by her sister, as it is by her parents, family, and friends,” said Lindsay Browder as she read the plaque to the crowd.
The 21-year-old member of the Nevada Air National Guard was killed in a late night crash at Paseo del Norte and Eagle Ranch Road more than five years ago after investigators said traffic sergeant Adam Casaus sped through a red light off-duty but in uniform in his police SUV.
Ashley’s younger sister Lindsay was serious injured. A devastating turn of events for the close-knit family.
“The world lost an irreplaceable, magnetic soul,” said Ashley’s mother Donna Browder.
The plaque is not just a reminder of that fateful night, but also part of the lawsuit settlement that requires driver safety training for officers; presentations by the Browder family to APD cadets; a video memorializing Ashley to be viewed by officers and cadets; bumpers stickers on marked APD vehicles to report dangerous driving; and memorial plaques in APD buildings.
Ashley’s father said her ‘true spirit’ and legacy will live on through it.
“We are very humbled by the support that we’ve been given by the city and APD in effecting change in the community,” said Charles (Chuck) Browder.
The family said integrity was the core value for Ashley that they hope to see upheld in the future.
The mayor and police chief also spoke at the dedication and shared how they hope to turn this tragedy into a ‘teachable moment’ for the community. A plaque of Ashley will also be hung in all sub-stations.
Adam Casaus always claimed he was chasing a drunk driver when he hit the Browder sisters, but there was no evidence to support this. He was charged with vehicular homicide and then fired by APD; however, he was only convicted of careless driving and sentenced to 90 days in jail.