They were killed in a collision with Richmond Police. A prosecutor must determine who was at fault.

Posted at 11:47 AM, May 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-06 11:47:58-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- The Richmond Commonwealth's Attorney's Office will be looking for certain key facts when making a decision about whether to prosecute two Richmond Police Officers involved in a crash that killed two Richmond teenagers, according to CBS 6 legal analyst Todd Stone.

The officer's cruiser collided with another car at the intersection of Bells Road and Castlewood Road in South Richmond in early April.

The crash ejected Tracey Williams, 19, and Jeremiah Ruffin, 18, from the car. Both teenagers died following the crash.

Jeremiah Ruffin and Tracey Williams
Jeremiah Ruffin and Tracey Williams

Stone said at issue will be who had a green light and who had a red light when the crash occurred.

"If the police officers had the right of way, the green light, then they are in the clear and I don't expect them to be charged," Stone said.

After the crash, Richmond Police Chief Gerald Smith said the officers were headed to a burglary call and were authorized to run blue lights and sirens.

"Right now we believe they may have but we cannot say definitely that their blue lights and sirens were on. They had authorization. We have some clues that could have been the case," Smith said at a press conference after the crash.

Stone said if the officers had a red light and they did not active their lights and siren before entering the intersection, the Commonwealth's Attorney could present charges to a grand jury.

"They both have to be activated according to the code in order to be comfortably free from any criminal charges," Stone said.

Since Chief Smith's initial interview, he has not shared any information about the police department's internal investigation.

Last week, hedeclined to answer when the CBS 6 Problem Solvers questioned him about whether proper protocol was followed or if he was able to review video of the crash.

There are traffic cameras at that intersection, and Stone said the police car should have dashcam video that can shed light on what happened.

Ruffin and Williams 02.jpg

He said if the teens were speeding, that could absolve the officers of fault in the crash, but he said it might be difficult to determine speed.

"If it can't be determined, with any degree of certainty, then a prosecutor might place the charge and let a court decide, put on the evidence to a judge and let a judge decide whether they're negligent," Stone said.

Richmond Commonwealth's Attorney Colette McEachin said her office will conduct a thorough review, and if it appears charges should be brought, her office will present those to a grand jury.

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