Jackson County sheriff’s deputy charged in crash that left innocent driver critically injured

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A Jackson County sheriff's deputy has been charged in an on-duty crash that left an innocent driver critically injured.

Sean Stoff has been charged with one count of operating a vehicle in a careless and imprudent manner, involving an accident. The charge comes from a serious crash nearly one year ago while Stoff was assisting in a pursuit for a fleeing suspect.

Officials previously told FOX4 another deputy tried to pull over a driver for a traffic violation around 1:30 a.m. May 9, 2018. When the driver didn't stop, a chase began, and Stoff joined to help.

Court documents say the 34-year-old sheriff's deputy eventually deactivated his vehicle's emergency lights and siren, but he kept driving at a high speed.

The pursuit brought deputies to the area of 350 Highway and Maple Street in Raytown. Court records say Stoff had a red light but continued through the intersection.

There, he crashed into Chris Reed's vehicle, a driver unrelated to the pursuit. The father of four was thrown from his vehicle and taken to a nearby hospital with "serious, disabling injuries," court records say.

In-car video from Stoff's patrol vehicle showed his driving at 71 mph at impact, and he didn't slow down as he approached the intersection, according to court documents. That video, along with video from another deputy's car, also confirmed he didn't have his lights and siren on either.

See the footage in the video footage in the video player above.

Reed's attorney, Brett Burmeister, believes the charge is fair.

"When this first happened, my client was concerned that due to it being a law enforcement officer that they would be treated differently and there wouldn’t be charged," he said.

Burmeister said too many innocent people are being injured in police chases.

"Each of those decisions was poor and unacceptable, and the number of innocent bystanders that are injured in this community by police pursuits is unacceptable," he said. "We have to have a deeper discussion on what we do to stop that because all of these collisions, for the most part, are avoidable."

Reed has a long recovery ahead now. He's still recovering from a traumatic brain injury.

"His daily life is much different than it was before this incident," Burmeister said. "He’ll forget where he parked his car, or he’ll forget what he was doing at any given moment, and so all of these daily activities that we take for granted are a challenge for him now."

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