GREENFIELD -- The Milwaukee County district attorney says a Greenfield police officer acted within his power when he performed a Pursuit Intervention Technique (PIT maneuver) that led to the death of Nicholas O'Brien on March 1. For the first time, we are seeing the chase and crash from the officer's dash camera.
O'Brien, 25, had been fleeing from Greenfield police late on March 1.
Greenfield Police Officer Nicholas Meyer spotted a truck that blew through a red light. O'Brien was the person behind the wheel.
A dash camera was rolling as the officer first pointed his spotlight on the vehicle. As the truck turned, speeds picked up -- and O'Brien fled.
Officer Meyer began to give chase -- turning on his squad lights. O'Brien continued to blow through stop signs and took turns at high rates of speed.
Officer Meyer unsuccessfully attempted a PIT maneuver -- but the truck kept going.
As speeds picked up again, a second PIT attempt was aborted after Officer Meyer spotted a trailer on the side of the road. The two vehicles sped up once again.
A third attempt at the PIT was successful. O'Brien lost control of the truck, smashed into a tree and later died from his injuries.
On Friday, Aug. 3, documents and video were released by the Oak Creek Police Department -- which has led the investigation.
In a letter from Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm to Oak Creek Police Chief Brad Wentlandt, it is indicated that the officer's conduct was "privileged." Because he was executing a PIT maneuver and had been "trained and certified to use the method," the circumstances in this case "supported his decision to use the technique to stop O'Brien's unlawful and dangerous behavior." Chisholm put the blame squarely on O'Brien, writing "the decision to elude an officer in a reckless manner places the burden of a tragic consequence on the driver that chooses to engage in that conduct."
Chisholm also noted O'Brien, who had drugs in his system at the time of the pursuit, had an outstanding warrant and a revoked driver's license.
Officer Meyer told investigators he was retrained in PIT maneuvers in 2016 following a different crash -- where he forced a fleeing vehicle to crash into a pole. No one was seriously hurt. He also said he knew other departments limited speeds of PIT maneuvers to 35 miles-per- hour or less, but Greenfield police did not. The speed when this crash happened was 62 miles-per-hour