Family mourns teen's death, disputes police account of what happened

Payton Rogers
Teen killed in Marion crash with police officer's car
Teen killed in crash with officer
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MARION, Ind. (WTHR) – Monday was a somber day at Marion High School as students mourned the death of a friend, a hardworking teenager.

The principal called Payton Rogers someone who was going to be successful.

Payton's mom wiped away tears as she sorted through a box of pictures and mementoes. Brandy Rogers had collected them for Payton's graduation. Instead, they will be displayed at her daughter's funeral

"We lost the most precious person in the world. She's awesome," Brandy said. "She's a kind, giving person. She had a pure soul."

The 18-year-old was killed late Friday night in downtown Marion when her car was broadsided by a police car on an emergency run.

Investigators say the officer and a second one behind him were using their lights and sirens and that Payton ran a red light.

Brandy Rogers doesn't believe them. We asked if she was taking issue with the police description.

"Absolutely, yes. Without a doubt," she answered.

Brandy Rogers says she's talked to several witnesses, including Payton's best friend. Baleeve Gregory was in the passenger seat. She survived and described to Rogers what happened.

"When the light turned green, they started to go and the cop didn't have the siren on T-boned her," she said.

Gregory recounted the story for Eyewitness News during a phone call from her hospital bed.

State police have taken over the investigation. According to a spokesperson, investigators have evidence to back up the Marion police department’s account of the wreck. Investigators say a police car camera video confirms their description of the wreck.

Brandy Rogers wants to see it.

"Then I will believe it," she said. "If I'm wrong I will make a formal apology."

The family is currently focused on having a funeral and not the graduation party they were planning. Payton would have graduated in about 3 weeks. She was going to college. Her goal was to become a forensic pathologist.

"She was the purest soul I've ever seen in a human being," Brandy said. "You breathe until you stop breathing because I have two other children.

The family established a GoFundMe account to help pay funeral expenses.

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