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La Crosse County deputy fired after fatal car accident

It has been just over a year since the fatal car crash between a La Crosse County sheriff's deputy and a 16-year-old boy shook the community.

The July 2010 crash resulted in prosecutors charging the deputy with homicide by negligent operation of a vehicle earlier this year and now La Crosse County Sheriff Steve Helgeson has fired her.

After a lengthy criminal investigation, it was revealed that the deputy went through a red light in the town of Onalaska at 90 miles per hour and hit the teenager's car. The Holmen High School student was thrown from his vehicle and died.

According to media reports of the investigation and subsequent criminal complaint, the deputy slowed her car from 106 mph to 90 mph about one second before impact.

She was responding to a call regarding a fight at a nearby bar.

According to the La Crosse Tribune, state law allows police officers to respond to emergencies by speeding through red traffic lights, but they're required to travel at speeds enabling them to stop or yield to vehicles that have the right of way at intersections.

It's clear from the criminal charges that prosecutors don't think the officer was traveling at an acceptable speed. The results of the tragic collision might well indicate that to a court, too.

Observers of the case will also watch to see if the boy's family makes use of their option to seek compensation in a wrongful death lawsuit from the deputy and county for the tremendous loss they've suffered.

Source: La Crosse Tribune: "Sheriff fires deputy charged in fatal crash" by Anne Jungen: Aug.

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