BATON ROUGE — A 28-year-old BRPD officer has been arrested for the wreck on Government St. on Oct. 20 that left a man dead.
BRPD says the arrested officer, Sharmaine Buckley, 28, “ran the traffic signal in her marked patrol car and crashed into a black Chevrolet Impala” on Government St. The driver of that Impala was 38-year-old Caleb Chappetta, a man who was born deaf, and had the right of way and a green light when he was hit. Chappetta was ejected from his car and died on the scene.
The officer has been charged with negligent homicide, two counts of negligent injuring, reckless operation of a vehicle, and emergency vehicles.
It was around 10:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 20, when an officer called for backup after an officer-involved shooting on Government St. Officer Buckley and her female passenger, another officer, were rushing to the scene to help their co-worker. Arresting documents say Officer Buckley had her lights and sirens activated and was going 79 mph westbound on Government St. when she ran the red light without yielding to any oncoming traffic. Chappetta was going south on S. Foster Dr. and had a green light.
Officer Buckley is said to have hit the Impala with such impact that the engine separated from the vehicle. That in turn, forced the Impala to hit another vehicle and then ejected Chappetta. The officers hit at least three more vehicles before the unit crashed into a pole. Buckley and her passenger were rushed to a hospital, where the other officer had to undergo surgery. Buckley was released from the hospital with minor injuries.
UWK interviewed EBR District Attorney Hillar Moore about prosecuting the case. He said the case will now head to a grand jury.
“I’m going to review it like any other case and present it to a grand jury,” said Moore. “I don’t know what the victim’s family’s position would be and we want their input and want to respect it, but if I see enough to move forward with a charge, then we can,” said Moore.
Buckley is a two year veteran of BRPD and is now on paid administrative leave while the investigation is underway, which is standard procedure.
A booking photo was not provided due to Act No. 494, which places restrictions on mugshots released to the media for most offenses with exceptions for certain violent crimes.