Investigation Launched Into State Police Role In Death Of Girl In Hudson Valley

An investigation is being launched following the death of an 11-year-old girl during an incident involving New York State Police her father is reportedly calling unnecessary.

A New York State Police trooper is being investigated for allegedly pepper-spraying and threatening a family in Ulster County.
A New York State Police trooper is being investigated for allegedly pepper-spraying and threatening a family in Ulster County. Photo Credit: New York State Police

Tristan Goods, who lives in Queens and Long Island, was driving with his wife and two daughters in the Hudson Valley on I-87 in December last year when he was pulled over by New York State Police Trooper Christopher Baldner in Ulster County for allegedly speeding.

In an interview with the New York Daily News, Goods spoke out about the incident, which led to the death of his child.

It is alleged that after confronting Goods for allegedly speeding, Baldner returned to his police cruiser before returning and pepper-spraying him and his family, including the two children.

After being pepper-sprayed, fearing for his family’s safety, Goods told the Daily News that he instinctively drove away, which led to the fatal incident.

According to the report, Baldner pursued Goods, rammed into the back of the family’s car with the cruiser twice, at which point their SUV hit a guardrail, flipped, ejecting Goods’ 11-year-old child out of the vehicle.

Following the crash, Goods alleged that he attempted to get out of the SUV to find his daughter, however, Baldner allegedly pulled a gun on him and asked if there were drugs or guns in the vehicle.

It is further alleged that Baldner interviewed Goods’ other child for several hours without a parent present.

She was pronounced dead at the scene. The incident led to New York Attorney General Letitia James launching an investigation into the incident.

“He didn’t warn us he was going to use pepper spray,” Goods said to the Daily News. “He didn’t say ‘Get out of the car’ or ‘You’re under arrest.’”

“I didn’t know what he was going to do next,” Goods noted. “I was like, ‘Holy s--t. This guy is going to kill me now.’”

Joseph O’Connor, a lawyer representing Goods, said that “we are confident that our clients’ accounts of what happened are consistent with the scientific evidence and the forensic evidence from the scene.

“This should have been a traffic ticket.”

According to William Duffy, a spokesman for the state police, the trooper remains employed on desk duty.

“While we understand the desire for answers to the many questions surrounding this incident, we can’t address the details until these investigations are complete.” 

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