BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A Baton Rouge police officer who accidentally killed a pedestrian with his unmarked patrol car back in June has returned to duty after an internal investigation reprimanded him for driving too fast at the time of the crash.
On Thursday, September 28, BRPD spokesman Cpl. L'Jean McKneely confirmed the internal investigation concluded about two weeks ago and resulted in a speeding ticket and five-day suspension for Officer Frederick Thornton. District Attorney Hillar Moore says a separate investigation by his office is still ongoing "to determine if any formal charges will be filed."
Police did not make their decision public until WAFB inquired about the status of the case Thursday.
Thornton's suspension has already been served.
The internal investigation relied on dash-cam footage taken from the officer's unmarked patrol car, though McKneely would not say how fast the officer was driving.
The accident occurred the evening of June 27 near the intersection of Florida Blvd. and N Acadian Thwy.
Thornton was headed westbound on Florida Boulevard approaching Acadian while an ambulance was traveling north on Acadian and crossing Florida in front of the police car. Thornton apparently changed lanes to drive around the ambulance and did not see 42-year-old Phillip Clark trying to cross the street.
A man who witnessed the incident told 9News Investigators at the time that the patrol car was traveling very fast.
"He was going too fast to think about what he was going to do. He couldn't stop and so it looked like he went even faster to try to beat the ambulance because there was no way he was going to stop for the ambulance," the witness said.
Thornton did not have any of his car's emergency lights or sirens on at the time.