A father recalled the day a New York State Trooper allegedly killed his 11-year-old daughter in a crash while they were heading to see family up North.
Driving on the I-87, Tristin Goods said he was pulled over, questioned about drugs and guns in the car, pepper-sprayed in the face and rammed twice at high speed, which ultimately led to the death of Goods’ daughter, The New York Daily News reported.
Monica Goods was killed riding inside a 2017 Dodge Journey without a seatbelt on Dec. 22, 2020, and she was laid to rest on Jan. 15, 2021.
Her father Tristin blames the trooper who aggressively approached the vehicle.
Tristin said Trooper Christopher Baldner pulled over the family car on the highway in Ulster County around 20 minutes before midnight. Baldner yelled at the Goods family to stop the car, reportedly without a reason.
He was screaming at me, ‘You were going 100 miles per hour and you shook my car!’ Tristin said.
“I said ‘The tractor-trailer in front of me shook your car.’ I had my hands on the steering wheel. I didn’t get out of the car. I was no threat to him,” Goods said. “I asked for a supervisor.”
Baldner and Tristin engaged in a verbal dispute before Baldner went to his cruiser and came back to the car and pepper-sprayed him.
“He didn’t warn us he was going to use pepper spray,” Goods said. “He didn’t say ‘Get out of the car’ or ‘You’re under arrest.’”
Tristin drove off, with his wife April and both of his daughters, 11-year-old Monica and 12-year-old Tristina, who were both crying, fearing for his family’s lives.
“I didn’t know what he was going to do next,” Goods said. “I was like, ‘Holy s–t. This guy is going to kill me now.’”
Baldner used his state police car to ram the back of Tristin’s SUV, and after the second ram the SUV flipped over and Monica was ejected from the car. She died at the scene.
Tristin got out of the car to locate his daughter’s body, but Baldner tracked him down, pulled a gun on him, asking Tristin again if there were guns or drugs in the car.
The family has since filed several lawsuits against Baldner and the state police.
The NY Daily News filed a Freedom of Information request and received a partially redacted statement regarding high-speed pursuits should be “minimized” and they prohibit “reckless or hazardous measures” unless the driver is doing so too.
“The pursuit must be terminated when it becomes apparent to the officer that the immediacy of apprehension is outweighed by a clear and unreasonable danger to the public,” the policy reads.
Baldner is on assigned desk duty, according to the department’s spokesman, William Duffy.
“While we understand the desire for answers to the many questions surrounding this incident, we can’t address the details until these investigations are complete,” Duffy said.