LINCOLN — A former U.S. attorney has been tasked with reviewing the Nebraska State Patrol's investigation of a deadly 2016 crash during a high-speed chase.
Joe Stecher was named special prosecutor to look into the crash and a Sheridan County grand jury investigation that found no wrongdoing by the trooper involved in the crash.
Dashcam footage from the October 2016 chase on Nebraska Highway 27 shows a pursuing trooper saying he used a tactical vehicle intervention to bump the fleeing vehicle in an effort to cause it to safely spin out. But the trooper later changed his story, saying his cruiser was struck by the fleeing car. Supervisors eventually concluded the trooper didn't use a tactical vehicle intervention.
The patrol's internal investigation found the fleeing driver, Antoine LeDeaux, 32, ejected from his car and suffering several fatal injuries in the crash.
Gov. Pete Ricketts said he turned over evidence of meddling in internal investigations to the FBI and the U.S. Attorney's Office. Stecher said he doesn't know whether the bureau is also investigating the patrol.
A patrol review by an investigator for Ricketts noted police "misconduct" and "dereliction of duty" throughout the top command. The report also suggested the possibility of perjury. The governor's review doesn't say that anyone lied to the grand jury, but does say the patrol's internal investigation "may have culminated with misrepresentations to the grand jury."
Stecher said Wednesday he's not aware of anything at this point that would lead him to believe charges will be filed against any of the four patrol members named in court documents. All four are currently on paid administrative leave in connection with their involvement in an internal investigation into the chase. None have been accused of any specific crime.
"A special prosecutor has the responsibility to look and see if an investigation or prosecution are necessary," Stecher said. "There has been no recommendation of charges or any indication that charges are imminent."