Cop convicted in crash that killed Memphis van Veen, 18
With reporting by Zack Newmark
The policeman who ran over 18-year-old girl Memphis van Veen while she was crossing the road on a scooter was convicted and sentenced today for reckless driving, according to the court judgment. The driver, part of an arrest team on an emergency call, received no jail time.
Judges in Den Bosch gave the officer a suspended six-month driver's license revocation, with a two-year probationary period. "Furthermore, the court was able to establish that the accused is very shaken up by the death and sincerely sympathises with the bereaved," the ruling reads. "The accused will have to live with the realisation that he has struck a young woman and that she died as the consequence of it," it continued.
Van Veen's parents were said to be relieved that the officer was convicted, and that the court held someone responsible for their daughter's death, despite the seemingly low sentence. In a July 2013 prosecutors said they did not think the driver acted in an abnormal or reckless manner. The parents were able to convince a court to hear the case anyway, but two weeks ago the prosecutor called for the officer's acquittal.
The accident happened at a pedestrian crossing in Eindhoven. The suspect was driving the last vehicle of a motorcade, on his way to the scene of a disturbed man threatening to shoot both police officers and himself. While driving in a bus lane, he approached a red stoplight at an intersection with his siren blaring and lights flashing, when he struck Van Veen who was crossing with the green light.
The court said the officer was required to adjust his speed in anticipation of other road users' behaviour. Prosecutors initially refused to press a case against the policeman, but witnesses reported the recklessness of the driving, and the case proceeded to court anyway.
Two forensic investigations of the accident analyzing the vehicle data took place. The police investigation determined that the car was traveling between 93 and 97 kilometers per hour, while a second examination by a national forensics service determined the speed to be between 90 and 97 kilometers per hour at the time of the accident.
However, the officer was only allowed to cross against a red light at a maximum of 20 kilometers per hour above the 50 km/h speed limit, and 40 km/h over the limit while driving along the road, according to police regulations considered by judges in the case. It was a key determination in the ruling of reckless driving, though judges also gave consideration that the suspect was traveling with a motorcade under orders from a commanding officer, and he had scanned the intersection on approach but did not see the victim.