A Las Vegas police officer involved in the death of a motorist he was chasing earlier this month has been placed on paid leave until the completion of an internal investigation, a police spokeswoman said Friday.
Officer Barbara Morgan said 29-year-old Aron Carpenter, who was hired in 2006, was placed on routine leave after the officer's patrol vehicle collided with a car driven by 26-year-old Ivan Carrillo on May 19.
Responding to a question, Morgan said it was unknown whether Carpenter intentionally collided with Carrillo's Honda Civic using a police strategy called the Precision Intervention Technique, During PIT, officers use a patrol car to strike the rear of the car they are pursuing to make it spin out.
According to Metropolitan Police Department policy, only personnel with "current certification" may use the technique. The technique could be considered "deadly force" under policy if the patrol driver is driving faster than 40 mph.
Police initially spotted Carrillo at 10:09 p.m. at Lamb Boulevard and Carey Avenue, near Lone Mountain Road.
A caller said a small black vehicle, later identified as the Civic, was driving slowly and weaving between travel lanes. The caller reported to police the driver might have been impaired.
A motorcycle officer requested additional marked patrol cars as the vehicle traveled north on Nellis Boulevard.
When the vehicle didn't stop and continued driving erratically, patrol cars turned off their lights and sirens but continued to follow Carrillo, police said.
"When it reached the intersection of Lamb Boulevard and Lone Mountain Road, contact was made between one of the Metro patrol vehicles, which had been following the suspect, and the Honda," police said in a statement.
Police said Carrillo's car then crossed from the northbound travel lanes of Lamb into the southbound travel lanes, where it collided with a Ford Contour and a Dodge Ram 1500. The Dodge Ram then struck a Pontiac Grand Prix.
Carrillo was pronounced dead at University Medical Center.