According to Vermont State Police, a burglary suspect who was being pursued by two police cruisers crashed into them, killing one police officer and injuring two others.
Jessica Ebbighausen, a 19-year-old police officer for Rutland City, passed away on Friday afternoon. According to state police, the collision occurred as officers were pursuing a car being driven by Tate Rheaume, 20, who is a suspect in an attempted home invasion.
According to authorities, there is evidence that Rheaume crossed the center line and hit the cruiser of Ebbighausen head-on. Another police cruiser was also struck by the suspect’s truck.
A tweet from Vermont State Police in Tribute to Jessica Ebbighausen:
This afternoon, a procession of nearly three dozen Vermont law-enforcement officers and first-responders began escorting fallen Rutland Police Officer Jessica Ebbighausen back to the city she loved and served. We will never forget her service and her sacrifice. pic.twitter.com/rYY2Y6ulpN
— Vermont State Police (@VTStatePolice) July 8, 2023
At the scene, Ebbighausen was pronounced deceased. Rheaume was transported to Rutland Regional Medical Center along with two other officers for what are thought to be non-life threatening wounds, according to the police. Rheaume was moved to Burlington’s University of Vermont Medical Center.
The Rutland County state’s attorney is being consulted as state police investigate the role that speed and intoxication may have had in the collision. If Rheaume is being represented by counsel, such information was not immediately available.
Ebbighausen, of Ira, Vermont, began serving as a part-time officer with the Rutland Police Department in May, according to state police. She was supposed to begin her full-time officer training at the Vermont Police Academy in August, according to the police.
According to the Rutland Herald, Rutland City Police Chief Brian Kilcullen made the statement, “We’re hurting right now,” on Friday.
According to Kilcullen, Ebbighausen had dreamed of being a police officer since she was nine years old. He claimed that while she was in high school, she completed an internship with the police.
Kilcullen remarked, “She always had a smile on her face.” We eagerly anticipated welcoming her into our family.
He claimed that the department had recently altered its procedures to forbid high-speed chases, but he made no more mention of the modifications on Friday, according to the newspaper.
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He said, “I’m here today to sincerely lament the loss of a family member. The investigation is being carried out by the state police. We’ll evaluate everything at some point.”
According to the Officer Down Memorial Page, which keeps track of law enforcement fatalities, before Ebbighausen’s passing, 28 Vermont police officers had perished while performing their duties, including 2 during car chases. She was by far the youngest of the Vermont officers whose ages are recorded.
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