‘Absolutely false’: Spokane Police Department responds to cover-up accusations in March officer-involved crash

SPOKANE, Wash. — A Spokane Police officer is facing criminal charges for a crash that injured two people last March. 

An investigation by the Washington State Patrol found that Officer Michael Brunner was going more than double the speed limit seconds before crashing into a car outside Deaconness Hospital. 

The victim’s lawyer is accusing the Spokane Police Department of a cover-up, and calling their statement on the crash misleading. 

The Police Department says that’s absolutely false. 

The speed limit down Lincoln Street is 30 miles per hour. 

The WSP says Officer Brunner was going 65 miles per hour, seconds before he slammed into a couple crossing the intersection of 5th and Lincoln. 

Brunner was hurt and taken to the hospital. The driver of the other car, James Colins, suffered a broken rib and collar bone and was extricated. His wife needed staples in her head. 

The Colins’ told investigators they came to a stop at 5th Ave and saw a car up the hill on Lincoln, but it was a way off and they had time to cross. 

Up the hill, and moments before the crash, a witness said Brunner was tailgating her. The officer behind him sent a computer message saying, “The woman in front of you sucks,” to which Brunner replied, “I know,” according to court documents. 

The witness said Brunner revved his engine, passing her down the hill, then crashed into the couple. 

Their lawyer accuses Spokabe Police of a cover-up, saying officers initially wrote the couple a ticket instead of investigating Brunner. The lawyer added that Brunner refused to provide a statement, and hindered the investigation. 

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: SPD: Officer injured when driver ran stop sign, crashed into patrol vehicle

A spokeswoman for the Spokane Police Department says there was no cover-up and is calling the allegation “absolutely false.” 

SPD says the ticket was issued since Officer Brunner had the right of way. Chief Meidl dismissed the ticket when data from Brunner’s car showed the officer going 65 miles per hour. 

Officer Brunner was placed on administrative leave the day after the crash. 

The two other witnesses who saw the crash were asked who they thought was at fault. They told investigators both drivers were. 

Brunner is scheduled to appear in court next week. He’s charged with two counts of vehicular assault.

READ: Court docs: SPD officer charged with vehicular assault drove 65 mph in 25 mph zone before crash