Teenage Police Officer Killed, Two Others Injured In Crash During Car Chase


John Oyewale Contributor
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A teenage police officer was killed and two others were injured Friday in a multi-vehicle crash during a police chase in Vermont.

Jessica Ebbighausen, 19, was providing support during a police chase intended to apprehend 20-year-old Tate Rheaume, who had allegedly attempted a break-in at a residence on East Washington Street, Rutland and had fled upon the arrival of the police, according to a Vermont State Police press release. Rheaume’s truck reportedly crossed the center line of Woodstock Avenue, Rutland, into the eastbound lanes and collided with Officer Ebbighausen’s cruiser at about 2:53 p.m., causing catastrophic damage to both vehicles. The suspect’s truck then struck another police cruiser also providing support in the chase.

Officer Ebbighausen was pronounced dead at the scene, per the press release. Her supervising full-time officer in the passenger seat of the cruiser was injured, as were the officer in the other impacted cruiser and the suspect himself. The other officer was treated and discharged from the hospital, while Ebbighausen’s accompanying officer and Rheaume remained hospitalized for injuries believed to be non-life-threatening, the press release noted. (RELATED: REPORT: Alleged Indiana Teen Carjacker Arrested After Woman Shot, Police Chase)

An investigation into the possible roles impairment and speed played in the crash was ongoing, the release stated. Investigators were also working with Rutland County state’s attorney Ian Sullivan on potential charges.

Officer Ebbighausen started working with the Rutland Police Department May 23 as a part-time, Level 2-certified officer and was due to start training at the Vermont Police Academy in August to become a full-time officer, according to the press release.

“She had a long and bright career ahead of her,” Lt. Col. James Whitcomb of the Vermont State Police said during a news conference at the Rutland City Police Department Friday night.

Thanking the city of Rutland for being a supportive community, Rutland City Police Department Chief Brian Kilcullen added, “To be perfectly honest, we’re hurting right now. I think it’s more important now than ever to ask for the support of the community. It’s not an easy job.”