10/23/2014

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Trooper's latest high-speed crash renews call for his termination

Trooper's latest high-speed crash renews call for his termination

PORT ANGELES, Wash. -- A Clallam County family is circulating a petition to get a Washington State Patrol trooper fired.

Family members say Trooper Travis Beebe has a history of crashing during high-speed pursuits, and they believe he's too dangerous to leave behind the wheel.

"We're not after the State Patrol. It's just one trooper that we feel unsafe around," said Karrin Larsen, one of the people behind the petition effort who still feels bitter over her brother's death.

In May 2012, Bjorn Larsen was fleeing from Trooper Travis Beebe through Port Angeles when both crashed along a dead-end road. Karrin Larsen says her brother Bjorn died, but Trooper Beebe only got docked a day's pay.

"A one day suspension is what he got," Karrin Larsen said. "Taking a life and endangering the lives of citizens that lived on that road -- that doesn't seem just to me."

State Patrol investigated and found Beebe's pursuit appropriate. However, last month the trooper ended up in another high-speed chase in which he struck two other cars. One of the drivers hired an attorney, who now says his client and several passengers were hurt in the crash.

"The initial indications from the scene are that our trooper was in fact the causing driver of the collision," said Bob Calkins, Washington State Patrol spokesperson.

Last month's accident led to a community petition in Port Angeles demanding Beebe's ouster. Bjorn's father and stepmom support it.

"How can somebody who drives so recklessly be right back on the road," said Colleen Larsen, the stepmom. "He didn't even get desk duty."

Bjorn's parents are determined to file a wrongful death lawsuit, saying there are other incidents involving Beebe that put the public at risk. Investigators say they feel for the family's loss, but need eye-witnesses to come forward if people believe Beebe has acted inappropriately.

"There's rumor and innuendo in the community, but no one is coming forward to us to tell us something they saw with their own eyes," Calkins said.

Bjorn did have a series of arrests over the years and had an outstanding warrant at the time of his death. Relatives say they are focused on not having other families suffer the way they have.

"If we could get (Beebe) fired, that's definitely our main goal but if we could also get him behind a desk and not on the roads anymore, that would also be a step in the right direction," Karinn Larsen said.

Trooper Beebe has crashed four times in his 17-year career. State Patrol says he could be disciplined in this latest incident, but likely won't be fired.

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