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New York State Trooper Christopher Baldner Charged With Murder In Christmas 2020 Crash In Ulster County That Killed 11-Year-Old

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- A state trooper is facing multiple charges, including murder, after a crash last year killed a young girl just days before Christmas.

Authorities say 11-year-old Monica Goods was in the car with her older sister and parents on Dec. 22, heading to visit loved ones for the holiday, when, just before midnight, Trooper Christopher Baldner pulled the family's car over for speeding near mile marker 92 of the Thruway in Ulster County.

Officials told CBS2's Cory James that during the stop, Trooper Baldner sprayed pepper spray into the car and that is when Monica's father drove away.

A police chase then took place and Baldner allegedly rammed his patrol car into the back of the family's car twice, causing it to flip over several times and killing Monica, who was thrown from the vehicle.

Her mother said this is just the beginning of the family's fight.

"I didn't lose just one child that day. I lost two, because Tristina will never be the same," Michelle Surrency said, referring to her other daughter. "Trooper Baldner needs to be convicted and sent to jail."

"The judge who handled this arraignment remanded this officer, which demonstrates the seriousness of these charges -- murder as the top charge," attorney Sanford Rubenstein said.

Baldner is facing charges of murder in the second degree, manslaughter in the second degree, and reckless endangerment in the first degree.

Those charges came down a week after Monica would have celebrated her 12th birthday.

"We were robbed," Surrency said.

The family says it is also not fair that Baldner, who had at least two other crashes on the New York State Thruway, was allowed to be behind the wheel of a patrol car.

Gov. Kathy Hochul said back in January of 2017, Baldner crashed into someone on Interstate 87 in Ulster County. Two years later, near the same area, Baldner allegedly crashed into another vehicle, seriously injuring three people and causing "grave risk of death."

"We cannot allow someone that has a history to be on any police force throughout this state," family advocate Rev. Kevin McCall said.

The New York State Troopers Benevolent Association released the following statement:

"The New York State Troopers Police Benevolent Association sends our condolences to the family of the child who died in the December 2020 crash.

"We respect the legal process and are preparing for the next step, which will be to provide legal representation to the involved Trooper, a right afforded to every American citizen tried by a jury of peers. As this case makes its way through the legal system, we look forward to a review and public release of the facts, including the motorist's reckless actions that started this chain of events."

CBS2 reached out to Baldner's attorney, but so far, have not heard back.

He is expected to appear in court Thursday for a bail hearing.


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