Charges dropped against trooper who attempted TVI maneuver

Charges dropped against trooper who attempted TVI maneuver
Tim Flick

A special prosecutor in Sheridan County has dropped charges against former Nebraska State Trooper Tim Flick, according to a release from his attorney, Dave Domina of Omaha.

Flick was charged with motor vehicle homicide for the unintentional death of Antoine LaDeaux during an Oct. 3, 2016, pursuit on Nebraska Highway 27 north of Gordon.

Flick also was charged with making a false statement under oath in a grand jury proceeding on Dec. 8, 2016, which was called to review LaDeaux’s death. He also faced a charge of reckless driving, an infraction.

LaDeaux, 32, was a member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe who had relatives in Nebraska. An autopsy revealed LaDeaux was intoxicated when the car he was driving left the roadway and rolled.

On the dashcam video from the pursuit, the trooper can be heard saying he used a tactical vehicle intervention, or TVI, to try to bump the fleeing vehicle into a safe spin-out on the highway. But the official narrative changed as supervisors got involved, and the trooper said his cruiser was struck by the fleeing car before he could execute the TVI.

The patrol’s former top commander, Col. Brad Rice, eventually concluded that a TVI was not used by the trooper.

While some within the patrol said the video showed that Flick used a TVI, union leaders have sharply disagreed.

Flick said in the statement: “Of course, I have sadness for the family that lost a loved one. My work at the time this occurred, was in accord with State Patrol policy. I was concerned for the lives of the passengers in the fleeing vehicle and the public on the road. It is good that the three passengers were not killed or seriously hurt, and no other user of the highway was harmed.”

Flick served 20 years with the patrol, which included returning to duty after being shot three times during a standoff at an Alliance pharmacy in 2012. He received the agency’s Honorable Service Award in 2013.

He is contesting his termination in a formal arbitration process.

A TVI is regarded as a “use of force” by the patrol, which requires additional reports and investigation to determine if its use was justified. It would also raise more questions about the use of the high-speed tactic, and could increase the patrol’s liability for the crash if a lawsuit was filed. LaDeaux’s mother said she has been urged to sue.