ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The city will pay more than $8 million for an Albuquerque Police Department crash that killed a 21-year-old woman, according to the family’s attorney.
Back in 2013 APD traffic sergeant Adam Casaus was off-duty in his police SUV when investigators say he sped through a red light at Paseo and Eagle Ranch.
That crash killed Ashley Browder and left her 19-year-old sister Lindsay injured for life.
Casaus claimed he was after a drunk driver, but APD didn’t buy his story and fired him.
He was eventually tried for vehicular homicide but only convicted of careless driving and sentenced to 90 days.
Sean McAfee, an attorney representing the family, said, “The facts of the matter are pretty simple. He drove 8.8 miles in less than eight minutes on a city street though ten signal-controlled intersections, decided to turn on his lights and run through the eleventh for no good reason.”
As part of the settlement, APD will also have to put plaques of the sisters in police stations, show cadets a video about the tragedy and place bumper stickers on marked units with a number to report dangerous driving.
“I can’t stress enough how important those things were,” said attorney Brian Branch.
“It’s very, very important to the family that no other family have to go through this again,” Branch added.
The settlement is one of the largest the City of Albuquerque has ever paid.
Statement from City Attorney, Jessica Hernandez
Although off-duty, Adam Casaus was in uniform and driving his City-issued police car at the time of this tragic motor vehicle collision. The City conducted an internal affairs investigation into Mr. Casaus’ conduct, and he was ultimately fired. He was criminally charged with Vehicular Homicide and Great Bodily Injury by Vehicle. He was convicted of careless driving and sentenced to jail time. His conduct places the City in a position of being legally responsible for his actions. Given the significant financial exposure to the City, a settlement in this case limits financial risk to the taxpayers while compensating the family for their tremendous loss.
The Albuquerque Police Department plans to take a number of steps to honor Ashley’s memory and to maintain awareness within APD and the community of the dangers of careless driving. It is the City’s hope that this settlement will help give the Browder family and the community some sense of closure. Nothing can undo the damage caused to the Browder family. However, we will work in partnership with the Browder family to honor Ashley’s memory and provide additional training to APD officers to reduce the likelihood of a tragedy like this from occurring again.
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