Victim's family alleges IMPD officer drove 95mph
Sandra Chapman/13 Investigates
Indianapolis - The family of a young mother struck and killed by an IMPD officer racing to a back-up call now says they have proof that the officer was driving at dangerous speeds.
13 Investigates why the officer's response time is now at the center of a lawsuit.
41 seconds: that's the amount of time police dispatch records show it took Officer Erin Ringham to mark herself in service for a burglary-in-progress call to the time she called back saying she struck a pedestrian.
It was New Year's Eve night 2008.
Amber Raines and a friend were "jaywalking," crossing Keystone Avenue about 140 feet south of the intersection just after 9:00 pm.
Officer Ringham had just left a gas station at Keystone and Prospect. She was running dark, with no lights or sirens, only headlights.
Now for the first time, 13 Investigates has learned experts working on behalf of the Raines family estimate the officer covered that one-mile stretch at 95-mph based on the time frame.
41 seconds is all it took. Now two years later, an officer's speed is a critical part of a lawsuit against the city.
Communication records obtained by 13 Investigates reveal the lapsed time:
Just after 21:11:24, C226 Officer Erin Ringham marked into service to back up a call near Keystone and Harlan.
Less than a minute later at 21:12:05, there was a radio transmission from Officer Ringham saying quote:
"Control 226 pre-empt me from Keystone, someone just ran in front of me and they're hit, Start Medic."
"I thought it was crazy," said Gidget Mullarkey, Amber's Mother. "She said she was only doing 50 or 55 and that's just crazy," Mullarkey added, talking about Officer Ringham's statement.
13 Investigates found just months before the crash Ringham was involved in two preventable accidents and ordered back to driver's training.
The fatal New Year's Eve crash was ruled non-preventable by IMPD's accident review team because of where Amber crossed the street.
"Well, if she was at the corner walking across the right way, she would have still got killed no matter what. There's no control of the car if she's doing 95. How was she going to be able to stop?" questioned Amber's mother.
Attorneys representing the city were not available for comment and typically don't talk about pending lawsuits. The Raines family attorney says time, speed and impact will all be part of the equation when they go to court next May.