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Officer in fatal wreck terminated

Copyright © 2018 Albuquerque Journal

Albuquerque Police Department officer Johnathan McDonnell

APD officer Johnathan McDonnell

A police officer who crashed into a family’s car last year, killing a 6-year-old boy and injuring a young girl, was fired Wednesday.

Albuquerque Police Department spokesman Gilbert Gallegos said APD Chief Michael Geier terminated officer Johnathan McDonnell.

Gallegos declined to say whether McDonnell was fired as a result of the crash or due to lawsuits related to the crash. He would not comment further.

McDonnell was responding to an assault call on the evening of April 17, 2017, when he collided with a car driven by Antoinette Suina, who had her two young children with her, at the intersection of Indian School and Eubank NE.

Suina’s son Joel Anthony Mumaw, 6, died after being placed on life support. Her daughter Ariana, 9, underwent surgery after suffering a pelvis fracture and internal injuries.

McDonnell had “extensive” leg injuries and a bruised lung.

At the time of the crash, McDonnell was headed to a Northeast Heights grocery store, where a man had threatened someone with a machete.

A crash investigation found McDonnell drove 80 mph north on Eubank and only was able to brake to just under 70 mph before colliding with Suina’s car as she turned east onto Indian School.

Both drivers had green lights, and McDonnell had his emergency lights on before the wreck.

Since being hired by APD in 2008, McDonnell had been disciplined in at least six driving incidents, including five preventable crashes and an unauthorized pursuit.

Suina’s family filed a lawsuit in January against McDonnell and the city of Albuquerque, seeking compensation to cover medical costs and funeral expenses.

In March, McDonnell filed a countersuit, alleging that Suina’s “negligence” led to the crash and sought damages.

The case is still pending and set for trial in 2019.

Attorneys in the case could not be reached for comment late Wednesday.

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