A New York state trooper has been charged in the death of an 11-year-old Brooklyn girl after he allegedly used his police cruiser to intentionally ram into her family’s SUV.
Christopher Baldner was indicted on charges of second-degree murder, manslaughter and reckless endangerment in Ulster County Court Wednesday for the December 2020 crash that killed Monica Goods, 11.
According to the indictment, the Goods family was traveling in a Dodge Journey, driven by father Tristan Goods, on the New York State Thruway – near mile marker 92 – on December 22 when Baldner pulled the vehicle over for speeding.
Tristan claims an argument broke out, Baldner lost his temper, and released pepper spray into the vehicle.
The husband and father of two, who said he feared for his life, sped off, prompting a pursuit that ended when Baldner rammed his cruiser into the rear of the family’s SUV twice. The second strike caused the car to hit a guard rail, flip over several times and eject Monica from her seat – killing her – before coming to a rest upside down.
A New York state trooper has been charged in the death of Monica Goods, an 11-year-old from Brooklyn, after he allegedly used his police cruiser to intentionally ram into her family’s SUV
‘Police officers are entrusted to protect and serve, but Trooper Baldner allegedly violated that trust when he used his car as a deadly weapon and killed a young girl,’ New York Attorney General Letitia James said.
‘While nothing will bring Monica back, we must hold law enforcement to the highest standards, which is why my office is committed to seeking justice in this case.’
Baldner was arraigned Wednesday and taken into custody. His bail hearing is set for Thursday, November 4.
If convicted, he could face a sentence of 25 years to life in prison.
The indictment comes after New York Governor Kathy Hochul issued an executive order last week authorizing James to investigate and potentially prosecute Baldner.
He is accused in two other incidents in which he allegedly rammed his cruiser into other vehicles.
Trooper Christopher Baldner is accused of intentionally ramming into a vehicle driven by Monica’s father, causing the car to strike a guard rail and flip over, killing her (Pictured: Monica’s coffin from her January 2021 funeral)
The first reportedly occurred in January 2017 and involved one another individual. The second took place in September 2019, endangering the lives of the driver and their two passengers.
Both non-fatal crashes occurred on the New York State Thruway in Ulster County.
Meanwhile, Monica’s mother, Michelle Surrency, has filed a lawsuit against the state alleging ‘reckless negligence’.
‘This is an important step in the march for justice for the wrongful death of a beautiful young girl and the psychological injuries sustained by her sister,’ lawyer Sanford Rubenstein, who represents Surrency, told the Daily News in wake of Baldner’s indictment.
The suit also claims Monica’s sister, Tristina, 12, who was also in the vehicle at the time of the crash, was questioned by police without a parent present.
The family says Tristina endured physical pain from the accident, as well as emotional trauma after watching her sister die.
The Goods family (relatives pictured at her funeral) has also filed a lawsuit against the state, alleging ‘reckless negligence’
The family lawyer said Baldner’s indictment was ‘an important step in the march for justice for the wrongful death of a beautiful young girl’
At her funeral in January, the community rallied behind the Goods family in their effort to get justice for Monica.
‘The police, state trooper, decided to use excessive force by rear-ending the vehicle twice, causing her demise,’ Rev. Kevin McCall told News 12 at the time.
‘It is very sad that a mother has the bear pain of burying a child. She was a lovely 11-year-old, an average kid that loved play video games and dancing on TikTok.’
A GoFundMe account has been established to help the family during this difficult time. There is also a Justice for Monica Goods Facebook page where interested parties can follow the family’s journey.