Two police officers died in a helicopter crash while helping in a high-speed chase, and now the suspect is charged with two counts of manslaughter, authorities announced Monday. Deandre Dwayne Bessye, 23, also faces a count each of aggravated flight from an officer, and one count of aggravated obstruction of a highway of commerce.
The Baton Rouge Police Department in Louisiana identified the victims as 17-year veteran of the department Sergeant David Poirrier, 47, and 16-year veteran Corporal Scotty Canezaro, 38.
“Both officers were assisting uniformed officers in a vehicle pursuit when the helicopter crashed,” cops said.
According to the West Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office, Baton Rouge cops were chasing a 2014 Fort Mustang on Sunday at approximately 2:27 a.m. when the vehicle crossed into the parish on Interstate 10.
The driver, later identified as Bessye, exited the interstate onto LA 415 northbound, deputies said. He allegedly continued fleeing Baton Rouge police, going at or near 135 miles per hour.
Cops ended the pursuit at approximately 2:35 a.m. near the intersection of U.S. Hwy 190 and Bueche Road, according to the sheriff’s office. West Baton Rouge deputies, who did not participate in the chase, were dispatched at approximately 3:14 a.m. to a residence on Poydras Bayou Drive regarding an abandoned vehicle, they said. Authorities later determined it was that same Ford Mustang from the chase.
“The driver Deandre Dwayne Bessye contacted the property owner and asked if he could get a ride to a nearby gas station because his car ran out of gas,” deputies wrote. “After getting dropped off by the property owner, Bessye phoned a friend in Baton Rouge who picked him up and brought him to his residence in Baton Rouge.”
Then at approximately 10:48 a.m., one of the officer’s family members called deputies to ask them to respond to a rural area, where investigators found the crashed police helicopter. This was in the Port Allen area, officers said.
“Unfortunately, both officers sustained fatal injuries,” deputies said. “Soon after discovering the crash, Baton Rouge Police Department was notified as well as Baton Rouge Metro Airport Traffic Control.”
U.S. Marshals ended up arresting Bessye and booking him into the West Baton Rouge Parish Detention Center. Authorities said Monday that police will also book him into the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison for aggravated flight from an officer, and hit and run.
The investigation is ongoing. Baton Rouge police did not immediately respond to a Law&Crime request for more information on the chase and crash.
“The public is asked to continue to lift the families and loved ones of our fallen officers up in prayer during this very difficult time,” police wrote.
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