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APD releases officer’s auto crash history

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — In October 2012, Officer Johnathan McDonnell was responding to a call about a possible kidnapping when police say he crashed into another officer’s cruiser, causing extensive damage to both vehicles.

Police reports and other documents detailing that crash, as well as four others McDonnell was involved in, were released by the Albuquerque Police Department on Monday.

Albuquerque Police Department officer Johnathan McDonnell (Source: APD)

Albuquerque Police Department officer Johnathan McDonnell (Source: APD)

In his nine years with the department, he has been disciplined for five preventable crashes and one unauthorized pursuit.

And last month, McDonnell was responding to another possible felony call when he crashed into a woman who turned her SUV left through the intersection in front of him. Antoinette Suina’s 6-year-old son Joel Anthony was killed in the crash and her 9-year-old daughter Ariana was critically injured.

McDonnell broke his femur and is out on injury leave, said Celina Espinoza, an APD spokeswoman.

She said the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office, the agency investigating the fatal crash, has not yet completed its investigation.

McDonnell’s disciplinary record begins in 2009, when he was given a letter of reprimand for colliding with another vehicle in the parking lot of the Foothills substation.

Three years later, in 2012, he was driving between 50 and 60 miles per hour on west Central for the possible kidnapping when he switched lanes and another officer crashed into him, according to a report.

McDonnell told police “he started to turn right into lane two without first checking to make sure the lane was clear.” He was given a letter of reprimand, but it is unclear whether the other officer was, as well.

In August 2014, McDonnell was heading south on Coors NW in the middle lane when he was “unable to avoid a dark stop sign posted at the intersection due to a power outage of the traffic lights,” according to a police report. He said he avoided a head-on collision with the sign but struck it with his passenger side mirror instead.

In February 2015, McDonnell crashed into a curb on Kachina NW after sliding in the “extremely icy and snowy road conditions,” according to a report.

When the cruiser was put in reverse “the front left wheel broke away from the vehicle main frame rendering the vehicle disabled.”

He was disciplined with a eight-hour suspension. Suspensions are always given without pay, Espinoza said.

In February 2016, he again hit another police car and was disciplined with another eight-hour suspension. McDonnell told police that crash occurred when the officer in front of him made a U-turn to follow a stolen vehicle and he hit her because he was following too closely.

McDonnell received his longest suspension – 28 hours – when he was “involved in an unauthorized pursuit” last June.

No records were released on this incident and it is unclear where, or why, this chase occurred.

Espinoza did not know how much the damage to McDonnell’s vehicles cost.

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