Investigation into police pursuit death wraps up
Six months after Truckee resident David Lee Kurrle was killed in a motorcycle accident in Glenshire while being pursued by Truckee police, those involved in the investigation of the incident said they are ready to put it behind them and move on.
Kurrle, 20, was killed Oct. 12 after being thrown from his dirt bike on The Strand while being pursued by Truckee police Chief Scott Berry.
The California Highway Patrol’s Multidisciplinary Accident
Investigation Team (MAIT) investigated the incident at the request of the Truckee Police Department, and recently released a report that answered some of the questions surrounding the accident.
Perhaps the most important conclusion contained in the CHP’s report is that Berry’s Ford Expedition did not come in contact with Kurrle’s motorcycle at any time during the pursuit.
In addition, investigators were unable to find any mechanical deficiencies in Kurrle’s motorcycle that could have caused the crash, though it was noted that his tires were labeled for “Off Highway Use” and were slightly worn.
Excessive speed was the official cause of the accident listed in the Truckee police report.
Truckee police Lt. Jeff Nichols speculated that Kurrle lost traction on the loose sand on the side of the road and then lost control of his motorcycle.
Witnesses to the pursuit estimated that Kurrle was traveling between 40 and 60 mph at the time of the accident.
Although Berry was driving an unmarked vehicle with lights and sirens activated, the report also concludes that Kurrle may not have know he was being chased by a police officer.
“There is no conclusive evidence that Kurrle knew he was being pursued by the Truckee Police Department,” according to a press release issued by the CHP. “Physical evidence, as well as witnesses’ statements could not substantiate that Kurrle was using his motorcycle to flee Chief Berry.”
Kurrle’s father, Jerry Kurrle, said he was satisfied with the way the CHP and Truckee police have handled the incident.
“We’ve been here a long time and there are a tremendous amount of people in town who had a hard time dealing with this when it happened,” Jerry Kurrle said, adding, “I’m satisfied with the way things are.”
Lt. Nichols said that the CHP’s report didn’t contain any new information that was relevant to the case.
“The investigation basically exonerated the Truckee Police Department from any wrongdoing,” Nichols said.
He added that no modifications to the department’s pursuit policy would be made as a result of the MAIT team’s findings.
An autopsy conducted by the Nevada County Coroner’s Office revealed traces of methamphetamine and marijuana in Kurrle’s blood.
However, neither the CHP nor the Truckee Police Department would speculate whether he was under the influence of either drug at the time of the accident.
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