Second Degree Manslaughter charges filed against trooper in deadly crash–court documents detail history of speeding, crashes on duty

State Trooper charged

Trooper Shane Roper is facing nine charged following a fatal crash on May 18.

(ABC 6 News) – State Trooper Shane Roper’s charging documents reveal a long history of crashes, speeding, and inattentive driving leading up to the crash that killed Olivia Flores in May of this year.

Roper was charged Tuesday, July 9, with five felonies: 2nd-degree manslaughter–culpable negligence creating unreasonable risk; criminal vehicular homicide–operate motor vehicle in grossly negligent manner; three counts of criminal vehicular operation–substantial bodily harm.

He also faces two gross misdemeanor charges of criminal vehicular operation–bodily harm and a gross misdemeanor charge of reckless driving, as well as a single misdemeanor charge of careless driving.

Roper, a Hayfield resident and 8-year Minnesota State Patrol employee, was not taken into custody upon charging. He is scheduled to appear in Olmsted County Court Aug. 29.

The Minnesota State Patrol confirmed Tuesday that Roper remains on paid leave.

May 18 crash

Court documents allege that on May 18, Roper allegedly observed a “petty traffic offense” and pursued the suspect vehicle at 98 mph on Highway 52, then slowed for traffic when exiting.

According to court documents, Roper had his emergency lights on until he reached 12th Street SW, when he turned them off and “accelerated with a fully engaged throttle” to 83 mph in a 40 mph stretch of the road, and continued at that speed into the heavy traffic of the Apache Mall parking lot, where he crashed into the Ford Focus containing Olivia Flores and Angelina and Katarina Bartz.

“Due to Roper’s excessive speed (traveling 83 miles per hour and at full throttle up
until 1.4 seconds before impact), when the Ford Focus started through the intersection, Roper was unable
to sufficiently brake or maneuver his squad car to avoid the collision,” court documents read.

“The driver of the Ford Focus described the speed of the oncoming vehicle as ‘a rocket,'” court documents continue. “Other witnesses described the speed of the oncoming vehicle as ‘flying,’ ‘in a blink of an eye,’ and ‘hauling (expletive).’ No witnesses saw or heard emergency lights or a siren.”

Flores died in the collision, while Angelina Bartz suffered a liver laceration, bruised kidney, and other injuries from the crash.

Katarina Bartz suffered a broken pelvis, kidney laceration, and traumatic brain injury, according to the family.

Roper’s ride-along passenger, previously identified as 20-year-old Peter Meyer, also sustained rib bruising and multiple fractures in the crash, court documents allege.

History of speeding, reckless driving
Roper’s charging documents allege that the state trooper had been involved in four previous crashes while on duty, and had accelerated to more than 99 mph while trying to initiate traffic stops for petty offenses “on numerous occasions.”

Earlier on May 18, court documents allege Roper had driven at 135 mph in a 55 mph zone on his way to a medical call, with neither his lights or siren active.

“On the way to this call he noted to his passenger that medical assistance likely would not be needed and that driving in such a manner was normal behavior for him,” court documents allege.

Call for review of “organizational failures”

Dan McIntosh, representing the Flores family, released a statement for them calling on Minnesota government officials to investigate “the organizational failures that led to Trooper Roper taking Olivia Flores’ life, and seriously injuring the other victims in this crash, to avoid such a senseless and preventable tragedy in the future.”

Regarding Roper’s history of reckless driving, McIntosh questioned the state patrol’s decision to continue placing the trooper in the field.

“Even if they were doing some discipline or some paperwork to say ‘You shouldn’t do this,’ what’s the accountability there,” he said. “Why is he being put back in uniform, back in a squad car to go and really engage in the same behavior.”

Thomas Braun, a partner with the law firm retained by the Flores family, found the speeds Roper had been driving prior to the crash on the same day particularly concerning.

“There must not have been any monitoring on the part of the state patrol,” Braun said. “To drive that vehicle with his lights and sirens off at that excessive speed endangers public safety. That’s the state patrol’s job, is to ensure public safety.”

The full statement is below.


(Olmsted County Attorney’s Office) – Olmsted County Attorney Mark Ostrem announced today that criminal charges have been filed against Shane Roper for his actions causing a motor vehicle crash on May 18, 2024, at the intersection of Apache Mall Dr. and 12th St. SW in Rochester, MN.

As a result of the crash, 18-year-old Olivia Flores died, and five other persons were injured. Charges include Second Degree Manslaughter along with Criminal Vehicular Homicide related to Ms. Flores as well as several charges of Criminal Vehicular Operation related to the other victims.

At approximately 5:44 p.m. on May 18, 2024, emergency responders were dispatched to a
serious motor vehicle crash at the entrance to Apache Mall. Three vehicles were involved with
seven occupants. Initial observations were that a Minnesota State Patrol unit driven by Trooper
Shane Roper had t-boned a Ford Focus and one or both vehicles were then pushed into a Toyota
Rav4. Emergency personnel were rapidly extricating and providing medical treatment to the
occupants of the Focus and Rav4. All occupants were taken to the emergency department. Ms.
Flores died a few hours later as a result of her injuries. Five other occupants suffered serious
injuries including broken bones and other significant injuries. Trooper Roper had minor injuries.

The Rochester Police Department investigated the crash. The investigation revealed that
Trooper Roper had been stationary on the exit ramp from 6th St. SW onto Hwy 52 doing traffic
enforcement. Trooper Roper activated his emergency lights and exited the ramp at a very high
rate of speed reaching 98 miles an hour, attempting to catch up to a traffic violator, before
exiting onto 12th St. SW. Exiting the ramp and entering 12th St. SW eastbound, Trooper Roper
turned off his emergency lights and sirens and accelerated to full throttle reaching 83 mph
approaching the mall entrance. The speed limit on 12th St. SW is 40 mph.

East and west bound traffic on 12th St. SW had green lights. Other vehicles were in and around
the intersection. Trooper Roper maintained a full throttle without lights or sirens. A westbound
Ford Focus began a left turn into the mall and Trooper Roper’s squad slammed into the
passenger side of the Focus. Investigation revealed that Trooper Roper did not come off the full
throttle until the Focus started into the intersection, approximately 1.4 seconds before impact.
Trooper Roper’s vehicle violently impacted the Focus.

The Minnesota State Patrol has specific guidelines and policy related to high-speed driving. The
State Patrol requires periodic driving related training for its troopers. Over the course of his 8-
year career, Trooper Roper has attended approximately 13 driving training courses for a total of
107 hours. Investigation revealed that at least four times earlier in the day on May 18, Trooper Roper engaged in high-speed driving without emergency lights, in one instance reaching a speed
of 135 mph, other times over 99 mph. Each of these instances Roper either did not initiate
emergency lights or turned them off while maintaining extreme speeds.

It is the policy of the Minnesota State Patrol that personnel have a “duty to protect all peoples’
lives to the extent possible when enforcing the law.” Trooper Roper violated that policy driving
in a grossly negligent manner attempting to catch up to a petty traffic violator on a consistently
busy roadway.

Ostrem commented, “Trooper Roper, violating his duty in such a gross fashion, caused the death
of a young lady celebrating her impending graduation from high school. Several other persons
suffered serious injury. Roper’s conduct violated the State Patrol’s Core Values. As with any
other person driving recklessly and without regard to very basic rules of the road, Mr. Roper’s
conduct cannot be tolerated.”

The Olmsted County Attorney’s Office express our deepest condolences to the family of Olivia
Flores. We also share our sympathy to the other vehicles’ occupants who experienced injury and
trauma in this event.