Forensic analysis reveals discrepancies in the NYSP trooper’s version of the fatal 2020 chase on New York Thruway

Trooper Christopher Baldner faces legal challenges after a crash involving the Goods family leads to an 11-year-old's death on a New York highway.

A forensic analysis has cast doubt on claims made by New York State Police (NYSP) Trooper Christopher Baldner, accused of causing the death of 11-year-old Monica Goods in a high-speed chase.

Court documents from the state Attorney General’s Office reveal that Baldner’s assertion of his patrol car being grazed twice by a minivan was likely false. This analysis is part of a confidential motion filed by Attorney General Letitia James’ office, aiming to reinstate a second-degree murder charge against Baldner.

On December 22, 2020, a tragic incident unfolded on Interstate 87 near Kingston. According to Baldner, the minivan, driven by Monica’s father, Tristin Goods, struck his patrol car, causing the vehicle to spin and overturn, leading to the young girl’s death.

However, vehicle tracking data from Baldner’s patrol car contradicted his account, showing that he rammed the minivan at speeds exceeding 100 mph. This revelation emerged from a detailed forensic reconstruction of the accident and testimonies from Baldner’s sergeants.

Baldner faced indictment by an Ulster County grand jury in October 2021 on a count of murder by depraved indifference. However, in February 2023, Judge Bryan Rounds dismissed the murder charge, maintaining charges of involuntary manslaughter and reckless endangerment.

The case brought to light another similar incident in 2019, further complicating Baldner’s position.

The Attorney General’s effort to reinstate the murder charge includes testimonies from 16 witnesses, including law enforcement officers and an accident expert. Charles W. Murphy, president of the State Police Benevolent Association, emphasized the importance of due process while pledging continued legal support for Trooper Baldner.

The case echoes a recent incident in Queens, where a woman was found guilty of fatally running over an NYPD trooper. Authorities used this and Baldner’s case to reiterate the zero-tolerance policy for speeding and driving under the influence.