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Detroit cop charged in high-speed crash that killed lawyer

June 24, 2021 GMT

DETROIT (AP) — A Detroit police officer was charged with involuntary manslaughter for a crash that killed a lawyer in February, authorities said Thursday.

Officer Teaira Funderburg disregarded a red light while rushing to help another officer when her patrol SUV smashed into a car driven by Cliff Woodards, the Wayne County prosecutor’s office said.

Funderburg was charged with involuntary manslaughter and willful neglect of duty. Defense attorney Jill Schinske declined to comment.

“Proper investigations take time and that is what we strive for in every case. ... It’s true that Mr. Woodards was respected in his profession, but the facts and evidence are what caused us to charge in this case,” prosecutor Kym Worthy said.

After the crash, then-police Chief James Craig said he found the incident “troubling,” noting the high speed of the patrol SUV. The crash occurred around 1 a.m.

Woodards was a defense attorney who regularly had cases in Wayne County courts.

“People have to understand that the prosecutor is extremely thorough, and in this investigation they left no stone unturned,” family attorney Arnold Reed said.