BOULDER, Colo. — A Colorado State Patrol trooper's actions were justified during an April pursuit in Longmont that resulted in the death of a 16-year-old suspect, officials announced on Tuesday.
The 20th Judicial District Attorney Michael T. Dougherty reviewed the case and found that trooper Tim Kridel's tactical vehicle intervention of a car driven by Mason Farnsworth was "reasonably necessary" and did not violate state law.
Authorities said Farnsworth was driving what was believed to be a stolen car and fleeing from police when the crash happened on April 23. When Kridel tried to stop Farnsworth's vehicle, the review found, Farnsworth tried to accelerate, and the car slid sideways across Francis Street and collided with a tree on the driver's side door. Farnsworth died at the scene.
"It is clear from all the evidence in this investigation that the intended consequence of the [tactical vehicle intervention] was to end the pursuit by forcing the stolen car to come to a stop in the roadway rather than engaging in a high-speed chase in a residential area of Longmont," a news release from the district attorney's office said.
“Mr. Farnsworth’s death was tragic. It happened so quickly and, although the Trooper’s conduct was legally justified under Colorado law, this brief encounter ended Mr. Farnsworth’s life and will forever impact his family," Dougherty said in the news release. "Whenever a person dies from an interaction with law enforcement, the family and our community deserve a thorough investigation."
Read the district attorney's full decision letter on the investigation here.