An 11-year-old Black girl was killed when she was ejected from a vehicle after a New York trooper rammed into the back of the car her father was driving in December, according to a lawsuit filed by the girl’s mother.
Tristin Goods, the father of 11-year-old Monica Goods, recently spoke to New York Daily News about the incident.
“It is just so hurtful. The guy was crazy,” he said of the trooper. “It’s illegal what he did.”
Michelle Surrency, Monica’s mother, filed a wrongful death suit against the state of New York earlier this year. The state attorney general’s office is also investigating the incident.
“I need the attorney general to understand that this officer was completely wrong,” Surrency said when the suit was filed. “There was nothing right about what he did.”
At around 11:40 p.m. on Dec. 22, on an interstate in Ulster, New York, Goods was driving his wife and two daughters, Monica and her 12-year-old sister Tristina to visit family.
Trooper Christopher Baldner pulled Goods over for speeding. According to Goods, Baldner yelled at him during the stop.
“He was screaming at me, ‘You were going 100 miles per hour and you shook my car!’” Goods recalled. Goods told the Daily News he replied the tractor trailer in front of him must have shaken Baldner’s car. The whole time Goods was sure to keep his hands on the wheel during the exchange, during which he asked to speak to a supervisor. As the two argued, Baldner asked if there were drugs or guns in the vehicle.
According to Goods, Baldner went back to the police cruiser and then returned to the family’s vehicle and sprayed pepper spray into the car without warning. With his daughters crying and fearing for his life, Goods drove away, he says.
“I didn’t know what he was going to do next,” Goods told the newspaper. “I was like, ‘Holy s–t. This guy is going to kill me now,’” he said.
Baldner chased Goods in his state police SUV and rammed him once, then again about eight seconds later. When the car was struck a second time it hit a guard rail, flipped and rolled. Monica was ejected and died at the scene. When Goods tried to exit the vehicle to find his daughter, Balder pulled a gun on him and asked again if there were drugs or guns in the car.
According to the State Police pursuit policy, using “reckless or hazardous measures” during a high-speed pursuit is not allowed, the Daily News reported, citing documents it obtained through a FOIA request.
Goods’ lawyer, Joseph O’Connor said the whole situation, “should have been a traffic ticket.”
Although Tristina survived the ordeal, she wasn’t left unscathed. She allegedly was questioned by troopers for hours after the collison without a family member present and also sustained non-life threatening injuries for which she received treatment at a hospital.
“My children are 11 and 12,” Surrency said. “Physically I lost one child that day — I will never get her back — but emotionally I lost two because my 12-year-old will never be the same again.” A GoFundMe for the Goods family has raised more than $6,000.
Baldner is currently assigned to desk duty pending an investigation.