SIKESTON, Mo. (KFVS) - A Sikeston police officer has been cited with driving while intoxicated in a crash that killed one and injured several others.
Sikeston DPS officer Andrew Cooper, 46, is currently in serious condition and remains hospitalized. Officials said Cooper has been suspended without pay.
He has been arrested, but is not in custody due to his injuries. Official charges and a mugshot are unavailable at this time.
The crash happened Saturday, Feb. 29 around 9:15 p.m. on Salcedo Rd. and Columbine St. in Sikeston, Mo.
The Missouri State Highway Patrol report states the crash happened when Cooper ran a stop sign and hit a vehicle driven by Christopher Cohen, 24, of Sikeston Mo., head-on.
Cohen was taken by ambulance to a hospital with serious injuries. Cohen’s passenger Abigail Cohen, 22, of Sikeston, Mo, died at the scene.
Sikeston DPS Chief McMillen said it’s troubling.
"Our job here is to protect the community, you know, and many of us have families obviously raised in the community. So, to know that something terrible like this has taken place and the actions that may have involved the officer may have led to that, its deeply troubling,” he said.
According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol report, Cooper was cited for driving while intoxicated resulting in a death, which is a felony charge. Cooper was taken to a hospital after the crash.
Cooper has worked for the Sikeston Department of Public Safety for 23 years.
McMillen released the following statement:
"On February 29th, at 9:18 p.m., Sikeston DPS received a a call for service in reference a motor vehicle accident at E. Salcedo Road and Columbine in Sikeston. The accident was reported as a serious traffic accident with injuries. Sikeston Communications dispatched Fire Division Personnel, Patrol Division and EMS.
First responders tended to the five people injured in the accident and transported them to local hospitals. A woman involved was later pronounced deceased at Missouri Delta Medical Center.
Sikeston DPS requested Missouri State Highway Patrol investigate the accident due to the severity and the fact that an off-duty Sikeston Public Safety Officer was involved. MSHP Major Crash Investigation Unit is conducting the investigation.
Our deepest sympathies go out to the injured parties and the family of the deceased woman.
As this investigation is being conducted by the MSHP, we will defer to them to release information pertaining to the cause of this incident. Late last night we learned of the Officer’s arrest and he was subsequently placed on administrative leave pending criminal and administrative investigations.
Chief J. McMillen #A15″
McMillen said despite Cooper’s tenure with the department, all the necessary steps will be taken.
“When we actually get the facts in from the investigation we’re gonna be sure to take the appropriate steps that need to be taken and whatever those facts lead us to and I think the community really demands accountability and its my job to see that happen," he said.
McMillen also spoke about the 22-year-old victim Abigail Cohen
“As a father of three children, one of which was 22 years of age as this girl was, I do not know how I would to handle that and I can’t imagine what the family is going through, that’s very troubling to me," he said.
Two passengers in Officer Andrew Coopers’ vehicle were seriously injured in the crash. One of the passengers was flown by helicopter to a hospital. The other passenger was taken by ambulance to a hospital.