Minnesota State Trooper Charged in Death of Rochester Teen Following Traffic Incident

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On May 18, Minnesota State Patrol Trooper Shane Roper was involved in a high-speed chase that ended in a catastrophic three-vehicle crash in Rochester, resulting in the death of 18-year-old Olivia Flores and injuring five other individuals. Following an investigation, Olmsted County Attorney Mark Ostrem has formally charged Roper with multiple criminal offenses, including second-degree manslaughter and vehicular homicide.

The incident unfolded when Roper, trying to apprehend a motorist for a minor infraction, escalated his pursuit to speeds nearing 100 mph, subsequently turning off his emergency lights and continuing his high-speed chase at 83 mph in a 40 mph zone. Upon approaching a busy intersection by Apache Mall, Roper was unable to stop, colliding at approximately 55 mph into a Ford Focus making a left turn. The collision forcefully redirected Roper’s cruiser and the Ford into another vehicle, a Toyota RAV4.

Witnesses reported that Roper’s police cruiser appeared to be moving “like a rocket,” without the activation of emergency lights or a siren to alert other drivers. The intense impact of the crash caused serious injuries among the passengers and was fatal for Flores, who suffered blunt-force trauma.

Further investigations revealed a troubling pattern with Roper, who had been involved in several other high-speed incidents without requisite caution, and often for minor traffic violations. Despite these charges, Roper remains on paid leave in accordance with state troopers’ labor agreements.

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