PORT ANGELES, Wash. - As they drove past the wreckage of a mangled state patrol car on Friday, Peter and Colleen Larsen of Port Angeles say it brought back a torrent of terrible memories.
“When I saw the wrecked cars, it was horrible. It basically brought back exemplified emotions,” Peter Larsen told KIRO 7. “We wondered if it was the same trooper who chased my son last year,” said Colleen Larsen.
The Larsons’ son Bjorn was speeding on a motorcycle in May of 2011, when Trooper Travis Beebe chased him at high speeds for miles. Larsen’s motorcycle and Trooper Beebe’s patrol car both lost control and dropped off a sharp curve into a ravine below.
Larsen was killed. Trooper Beebe’s car was destroyed. Although Trooper Beebe was found to have been justified in the pursuit, he was suspended for one day for totaling his patrol car.
On Wednesday, the Larsen’s concerns about Friday’s crash were confirmed.
Washington State Patrol investigators say 39-year-old Trooper Beebe was at fault for the crash, and could face disciplinary actions, from suspension to termination.
Investigators told KIRO 7 Trooper Beebe made a U-turn to chase a speeding driver coming the other direction on Highway 101. He crossed the center line, sideswiped an SUV, and slammed head-on into a sport utility pickup.
“It’s a miracle he didn’t kill or seriously injure people in the other cars,” said Colleen Larsen.
Now, the Larsens are organizing a “peaceful protest” of WSP headquarters in Port Angeles Saturday morning.
“When he chased my son last year, he was chasing someone for a moving violation, a speeding ticket,” said Peter Larsen. “My son should have stopped, but Beebe endangered not only my son's life and his, but he ran 5 and a half miles up a residential road. People ride horses, kids cross the street, dogs are out on the road. He had complete disregard for their safety,” he said.
Colleen Larsen says the protest will include others who feel Trooper Beebe has a pattern of aggressive driving.
“I truly believe the public is unsafe in his presence, because he makes dangerous decisions that endanger everyone in his path,” she said.
“We want to send our sympathy to the families involved in Friday’s crash. Two separate state patrol agencies are conducting a thorough investigation, and that will take a while," a WSP spokesperson told KIRO 7.
Beebe has been a trooper for 17 years, and received trooper of the year honors in 2010 for a WSP district which includes seven counties.