RENO — No charges will be filed against the man driving the other vehicle in the crash that killed a Nevada Highway Patrol trooper who was responding to a bomb scare last month, the Washoe County sheriff’s office said Wednesday.
Trooper Kara Kelly-Borgognone, 33, died from injuries she suffered in the Feb. 25 collision.
She was the first female law officer in Nevada killed in the line of duty.
With her emergency lights on but no siren, her cruiser was struck by a Chevy Trailblazer driven by Matthew Henderson, who had a green light when he entered the intersection on the north edge of Sparks just after 11 p.m., the sheriff’s office concluded.
Henderson, 30, of Sun Valley, was required to give way to the oncoming patrol car, but “mitigating circumstances” existed, including the fact neither driver could see the other’s vehicle because of a pillar, the sheriff’s office said in a statement.
Kelly-Borgognone was responding to help Washoe County authorities with a possible bomb in the parking lot of a gasoline station on the Pyramid Highway.
The object turned out to be a cooler with samples of construction material.
Henderson’s lawyer, Louis Schneider of Las Vegas, said his client was traveling about 35 mph and did not see the cruiser’s flashing lights until it was too late.
“He never heard a siren,” Schneider told the Reno Gazette-Journal. “And he just caught a glimpse of flashing lights just before he struck her vehicle.”
Kelly-Borgognone was kept on life support until Feb. 28, when her organs were removed for donation.
A witness behind Henderson saw that he had the green light, Schneider said.
“Both the police car and my client’s car had on-board computers, and within hours, they knew how fast my client was going,” he said.
He commended the sheriff’s office for what he called professional treatment of Henderson.
“Normally when there is a death of an officer, the cops are looking to hang someone,” Schneider said. “My client was treated with professionalism and has been throughout.”
Schneider said Henderson received nonlife threatening injuries in the crash but is haunted by what happened.
“He’s pretty shook up,” Schneider said.
“He’s a single, full-time father of two. He knows the trooper was a mother of two, and he’s heartbroken over this. Being involved in something like this is tearing away at him.”