Fatal Crash Involving Officer – #19-26893

UPDATE 11/19/2019 @ 8:48 am This morning, Chief Blanchard formally requested to the Texas Rangers get involved in this event. END OF UPDATE


Final UPDATE 11/18/2019 @ 8:52 pm This update is intended to help clarify some questions surrounding this event:  

Route of officer and motorcyclist prior to the crash.
  1. At no time were the officers in pursuit of the motorcycle, nor did officers perform the “PIT” maneuver on the motorcycle. The illustration initially provided and provided here again shows the route of the police SUV and the motorcycle.   
  2. Video evidence acquired by the police department does show the motorcycle did have its headlight on during the time leading up to the crash.  
  3. The officers were not traveling in emergency mode. Driving in emergency mode means an officer’s lights and siren are activated. However, the officer was driving at a speed of 69 MPH at the time of the crash. Officers are permitted by policy and law to drive above the posted speed limit, and they may do so without traveling in emergency mode. There are several reasons for why an officer might choose to drive without going into emergency mode. This event involved the complaint of a recklessly driven motorcycle, and the driver of that motorcycle evaded law enforcement detention when confronted by police which is a felony.  
  4. The following media is comprised of video shared with us by residents, body-camera footage from the initial officer, and audio recordings from police, fire, EMS, the 911 line, and department administrative phone lines.  
  5. The officers in the police SUV did not have their body cameras recording at the time of the crash.
  6. There are two investigations underway. The first is the actual crash investigation which is being investigated by APPD with assistance from Texas DPS Highway Patrol. The second is an internal investigation into department policies and procedures as it relates to this event. Both investigations remain active and ongoing.

END OF UPDATE


UPDATE: 11/18/2019 @ 10:27 a.m. – A correction to this original release. At the time of the crash, it appears the motorcycle might have had its headlight on. We secured video evidence that shows the motorcycle traveling at a very high rate of speed immediately before slamming into the police vehicle. END OF UPDATE


INFORMATION RELEASE
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 2019
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

On Sunday, 11/17/2019, at 1:07 a.m., Aransas Pass Police were contacted by a complainant about a recklessly driven motorcycle that was traveling up and down Deberry. The complainant said he was going “like 80 miles per hour.”

Officer Christa Rasor received this call. Ofc. Rasor went to the location of the complaint and started searching for the reckless motorcyclist. The complainant then called back and said the driver of the motorcycle was “taunting” the officer and was now traveling on Whitney street near Autozone. He went on to state this reckless motorcyclist and another subject were now on Rife Street, and they are “playing races, him and the other guy.”

Dispatch relayed the information to Ofc. Rasor and she located the motorcyclist on Rife Street. Ofc. Rasor said she recognized him as Tony Kaufman (AGE 25). Kaufman refused to comply with Ofc. Rasor when she told him to stop. He sped off on his motorcycle to flee from her, heading southbound on Rife Street. Ofc. Rasor told dispatch of the situation and said she was not pursuing Kaufman. She then asked if her sergeant heard the radio traffic, which he had.

Field Training Officer Jack McCarty and his trainee Officer Jairo Herrera responded to the area to search for Kaufman. Ofc. McCarty was driving and Ofc. Herrera was riding in the front passenger seat. Ofc. McCarty was not operating in emergency mode but was trying to get into the general area to assist.

As Ofc. McCarty was traveling eastbound on Harrison Blvd., Kaufman sped westbound down Wilson across its intersection with Harrison Blvd. At that point, Kaufman was reported to be driving without vehicle lights on. The police SUV struck the side of Kaufman’s motorcycle, sending Kaufman and his motorcycle into an adjacent grassy lot at the intersection of Whitney and Wilson. Kaufman died on impact. The attached illustration depicts the location of this crash.

Ofc. McCarty and Ofc. Herrera received minor injuries in the crash and are both medically clear for duty. The Aransas Pass Police Department, with the assistance of Texas DPS, continues to investigate the crash.

Kaufman has had several prior contacts with law enforcement. Of those contacts, he has received a traffic citation, was charged with unauthorized use of a vehicle in 2013, evading arrest or detention with a vehicle in 2017, and was arrested on a warrant in 2018. These events are not inclusive of other calls or contacts law enforcement has had with Kaufman.

If you have any information on this case, you are asked to contact the Aransas Pass PD, Capt. David Muniz at 361-758-5224.

3 comments on “Fatal Crash Involving Officer – #19-26893

  1. Why do people feel it’s ok to taunt the police in any situation? This is a tragic situation that could have been avoided at all cost. My heart goes out to this man’s family and the dedicated officer who now has to carry this memory forever.

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