A Minnesota grand jury indicted a state trooper Tuesday on two counts of second-degree manslaughter for his involvement in a July 4 car accident that killed an elderly couple.
KARE News reports the grand jury of Goodhue County decided to indict Trooper Scott Robert Reps, who was responding to an emergency call when the accident occurred.
The crash killed Norman Scott, 78, and Geneva Scott, 79, when their car was broadsided by Reps’ patrol car.
Reports of the accident indicate witnesses said they heard sirens and saw the patrol car’s lights when the Scotts’ car pulled out of a parking lot to make a left-hand turn. As the cars collided, the two vehicles spun into a third car. Reps was injured in the accident. The Scotts both died at the scene.
The grand jury also indicted Reps on one count of failure to drive with due care.
Winona County Assistant Attorney Kevin O’Laughlin said he is handling the case at the request of Goodhue County officials.
“To avoid even the appearance of impropriety, they asked an independent prosecutor to handle it, and we agreed to do so,” O’Laughlin explained Tuesday.
Reps’ defense attorneys, Frederic Bruno and Samantha Schmidt, told The Star Tribune of Minneapolis they plan to file a motion to dismiss the case.
“Profound evidentiary and procedural errors were committed by the Assistant Winona County Attorneys in the presentation of this case,” the two said in an issued statement Tuesday.
They maintain that Reps “was acting responsibly and in compliance with his sworn duties” when the crash happened.
When asked about the claims that errors were made in presenting the case, O’Laughlin told CBS-Minnesota he plans to “try the case in the courtroom, not in the media.”
The Minnesota State Patrol said it was limited as to what it could say about a pending case.
“Troopers work hard every day to prevent crashes and save lives. Our thoughts remain with everyone affected by this devastating event,” wrote Lt. Col. Matt Langer in a statement issued after the indictment was unsealed.
The Scott family declined to comment about the indictment on the advice of their attorney.
Reps is due to appear in court Feb. 20.