2 traffic violations filed against state trooper

May 26, 2000|By Laura Barnhardt | Laura Barnhardt,SUN STAFF

A state trooper who lost control of his Camaro during an off-duty drive in a Pasadena neighborhood - allegedly plowing through two mailboxes and clipping the back of a parked van - was charged this week with two traffic violations.

Trooper Michael Joseph Larsen Jr., a 21-year-old Pasadena resident, was charged with negligent driving and "using speed greater than what is reasonable and prudent," which carry fines of $120 and $65, respectively, Eastern District Capt. Timothy Bowman said yesterday.

The trooper was not immediately charged after the crash April 17 on Maryland Avenue - one of two through streets in the Boulevard Park neighborhood and a longtime subject of complaints about speeding and drag-racing.

Residents were concerned that the trooper was given special treatment. But Bowman said, "We took extraordinary efforts with this case."

In cases where a driver is injured and sent to the hospital, it is typical for police to wait several days before filing charges, Bowman said. After Larsen was treated for minor injuries and released from the hospital, Bowman said, investigators were reinterviewing witnesses and reviewing physical evidence, including skid marks. Investigators found no evidence of alcohol use in the accident, Bowman said, although blood tests were not performed. In addition to wanting to avoid the appearance of favoritism, Bowman said, "This was worthy of more in-depth investigation because it supported some of the residents' complaints about speeding problems." Residents said they were pleased with the results of the county police investigation.

Several speed "humps" were installed along the upper portion of Maryland Avenue a few days after the accident, but not on the lower section where the crash occurred - and where residents say drivers speed past their homes. The limit on Maryland Avenue is 25 mph.

Larsen, who is assigned to the Easton barracks, could not be reached for comment yesterday. The incident is being investigating by the state police internal affairs unit, which will determine if administrative action is necessary, a spokesman said.

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