Officer Emily Morgenroth, 26, of the Sacramento Police Department, was responding to the assistance of other officers who were on a felony vehicle-stop, when a DUI driver pulled into the path of her patrol car. Officer Morgenroth had been an officer for 2 years. Rest in peace Emily.
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Investigators say the blood alcohol level of the driver of the pickup involved in a collision that killed a Sacramento police officer Friday night in North Sacramento was more than double the legal limit.
Chris Brown, 33, of North Sacramento, who is recovering at UC Davis Medical Center from shoulder injuries from the crash, has been charged with drunken driving and could face vehicular manslaughter charges in connection with the death of 26-year-old Officer Emily Morgenroth, authorities say.
Brown’s blood alcohol content was reported at 0.17, more than twice the 0.08 legal limit in California.
Morgenroth’s death is the first within the Sacramento Police Department since April 25, 1991 when Officer Michael Gartrell, 37, died after his patrol car smashed into a concrete abutment at Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Highway 99 during a pursuit of a suspected drunken driver.
The wreck occurred on Marysville Boulevard just before 10 p.m. Friday when Morgenroth’s patrol car broadsided the pickup driven by Brown.
She was responding northbound on Marysville Boulevard to a report of a stolen vehicle, but was not pursuing the vehicle itself, when her patrol car struck Brown’s truck as he made a left turn into the Bill’s Liquors parking lot just before the Del Paso Boulevard intersection, authorities say.
On impact, the truck, which had been southbound on Marysville, was caught under the patrol car push bumper and thrown into the air, landing between the store and a utility pole, the California Highway Patrol said. There were scrape marks 10 feet high on the wall.
The patrol car then struck a utility pole and spun out. Morgenroth’s air bag opened, but the CHP was trying to determine whether she was wearing her seat belt. Brown’s wife, Tammy, 23, who was a passenger in the truck, has a broken collarbone, ribs, pelvis and a punctured lung and is also recovering at UC Davis Medical Center.
For Morgenroth’s parents in Pleasanton, the news brought by police of their daughter’s death was a shock.
“Honestly, when they first came into the house, I didn’t see the chaplain,” her mother, Mary, said Saturday. “I just saw the police. When they said, ‘Your daughter’s dead,’ you’re stunned . . . At moments you want to scream and cry, at other moments, you feel numb.”
Her daughter went into police work as a way to get into the FBI. She graduated from the police academy two years ago, and her time in Sacramento was meant to improve her “street smarts.”
She graduated from Amador High in Pleasanton, and UCLA with a degree in political science. She studied Japanese and German in college, and spent two years in Japan teaching English before coming home three years ago, her father, Jerry, said.
There were several thousand officers and civilians in attendance at her funeral service which was held Thursday October 23. She was buried in Pleasanton the following Friday. She is the first female officer killed in the line of duty in Sacramento County history. She will be missed very much. She was very special to the entire department.
The family requests any donation be sent to:
People’s Ethical Treatment of Animals
P.O. Box 96684
Washington D.C. 20077-7538