State trooper in Rochester crash that killed 18-year-old Olivia Flores charged with manslaughter

OWATONNA, Minn. — A Minnesota State Patrol trooper was charged Tuesday in Might’s fatal crash that killed an Owatonna highschool cheerleader and injured 5 others. 

The crash occurred on the intersection of twelfth Avenue Southwest and Apache Drive Southwest in Rochester. Paperwork say that Shane Roper, a 32-year-old trooper with eight years of expertise, was driving his squad automotive with “extreme velocity” and with out his lights on when he hit a Ford Focus that was making an attempt to make its method by the intersection. The influence then brought about the 2 automobiles to hit a Toyota Rav4.

Earlier than the crash, Roper was following a separate driver that he suspected had dedicated a petty visitors offense. In response to the fees, he activated his emergency lights and accelerated to 98 mph on Freeway 52 and slowed when he exited onto twelfth Avenue Southwest. When he acquired onto twelfth Avenue Southwest, he turned off his emergency lights and accelerated to 83 mph in a 40 mph zone.

Paperwork say that he wasn’t capable of brake quick sufficient, nor may he keep away from the collision. He struck the Ford Focus whereas going not less than 55 mph.

The motive force of the Focus mentioned Roper’s squad automotive was as quick as “a rocket,” and different witnesses described it as “flying,” “in a blink of an eye fixed,” and “hauling a**.” Not one of the witnesses heard emergency lights or a siren, paperwork say.

The passenger of the Ford Focus, 18-year-old Olivia Flores, was killed within the crash. The 2 others within the Focus have been injured, in addition to the 2 within the Toyota Rav4. Roper additionally had a passenger with him on the time, a “ride-along,” who was additionally injured.

In a press release weeks after the crash, Roper mentioned he was making an attempt to “shut the hole” between his squad and the automobile he suspected of the visitors violation. He mentioned he was not in lively pursuit, was not being attentive to his velocity, and thought his lights have been nonetheless activated. Roper added that he tried to “clear” the intersection earlier than he entered it.

Paperwork say that Roper’s driving information reveal 4 prior crashes on account of his “inattentive driving or extreme velocity.” Three hours earlier than the deadly collision on Might 18, he was driving over 99 mph on “quite a few events” whereas making an attempt to provoke visitors stops, even at one level touring 135 mph in a 55 mph zone with out his lights or siren. Court docket paperwork additionally notice that he has had constant driving-related coaching over his eight years with the State Patrol. 

The costs say Roper’s driving conduct on Might 18 was “grossly negligent” and “disregarded the protection and lives of different people on or close to the roadway.”

Roper was charged with second-degree manslaughter, one depend of felony vehicular murder and 5 counts of felony vehicular operation, in addition to reckless driving and careless driving expenses. Second-degree manslaughter carries a most 10-year sentence.

“We specific our deepest condolences to the household and family members of Olivia Flores and to the opposite neighborhood members affected by the tragic deadly crash,” Chief of the Minnesota State Patrol Col. Christina Bogojevic mentioned. “The conduct alleged within the felony criticism is regarding and doesn’t align with the State Patrol’s core values.”

Roper stays on paid investigative depart, which is in keeping with the troopers’ labor contract.

Attorneys for Flores’ household launched a press release, saying, partly, “It’s heartbreaking and unacceptable to the Flores household that the State of Minnesota allowed Trooper Roper to be on the highway in a Minnesota State Patrol squad automotive after realizing that he posed a transparent hazard to others.”

Olivia Flores Family Statement July 9 2024 by
WCCO – CBS Minnesota on

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