Off-Duty Baton Rouge Police Officer Going 94 Mph in Crash That Killed 1-Year-Old Baby

Louisiana – A Baton Rouge police officer was arrested Friday on a count of negligent homicide, accused of going 94 mph in a Corvette when he caused an off-duty crash on Airline Highway that killed an infant and injured six others.

The officer, Christopher Manuel, 28, was driving north in a 2007 Chevrolet Corvette shortly after 8 p.m. Oct. 12 on Airline Highway when it struck a Nissan at the intersection at Florline Boulevard that was occupied by four adults and three children.

All of the occupants of the Nissan were taken to the hospital. One of those passengers, a 1-year-old baby, Seyaira Stephens, later died.

Manuel was also hospitalized with injuries.

“Through mathematic calculation I was able to determine that the speed of the Corvette at the time of the crash was 94 mph,” a Baton Rouge police investigator wrote in the report. “This was also confirmed by a download of the Corvettes Airbag Control Module.”

The officer wrote in the report that the speed limit was 50 mph.

The investigation found that the driver of the Nissan was driving south on Airline Highway and attempted to make a left turn onto Florline Boulevard where there was a green light. The Corvette, which also had a green light, struck the passenger side of the Nissan, causing it to roll over, according to the report.

Manuel, of 8508 Greenwell Springs Road, was booked into East Baton Rouge Parish Prison on a count of negligent homicide and speeding, Sgt. L’Jean McKneely, police spokesman, said.

McKneely said that Manuel had been with the Baton Rouge Police Department for five years, and worked in the uniform patrol division.

Manuel, who has been on paid administrative leave since the accident, will remain on paid leave until after an internal investigation is concluded, McKneely said. That investigation will not begin until he recovers from his injuries and is released to work by a doctor.

Manuel was freed from the Parish Prison Friday after he posted bail $15,000, according to the Parish Prison.