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Families of Sixth Street crash victims sue Dover, police officer fired for lying about it

Megan Fernandes
Fosters Daily DemocratPublished 5:35 a.m. ET Nov. 4, 2022

DOVER — The families of two victims of a fatal crash on Sixth Street — Joseph Bougie, who
died at 32, and Michael “Mike” Murphy, who died at 22 — have filed suit against the city and
the former police officer whose actions they claim led to their deaths.

Former Dover police officer Killian Kondrup was fired last year because of his dishonesty
about a pursuit that preceded two local men being killed in a March 2021 crash on Sixth
Street. Kondrup’s certification to work as an officer was permanently revoked in January

Now, the families are filing suit in a bid to hold accountable Kondrup and the city that
employed him.

What happened the night of the accident
In the early hours of March 18, 2021, a BMW sedan struck a utility pole and tree before being
engulfed in flames. Bougie and Murphy, both of Rochester, were dead at the scene of the
fiery crash on Sixth Street near Long Hill Road after a night out on St. Patrick’s Day that
included a visit to a downtown pub. Bougie was the driver.

Dover Police Chief William Breault said previously Kondrup was put on administrative leave
March 25, 2021 after security footage proved he had lied by omission to his supervisors,
telling them he had not pursued the BMW that crashed and burned when in fact he had. An
internal investigation followed, and he was fired on April 7.

Family and friends of Murphy had in late March raised concerns about what prompted the
accident. They shared saved Snapchat posts and text messages showing Murphy stated the
two men were being chased by police moments before they died. At the time, the Dover
Police Department issued a statement, denying officers were attempting to stop or pursue the
vehicle when it crashed.

The Dover police statement last year described the events leading up to the fatal crash that
night, reporting an officer now known to be Kondrup discontinued an attempt to stop the
two men before the crash.

In Kondrup’s initial report, which was obtained by Foster’s Daily Democrat via a Right to
Know request to the city of Dover, the now former officer described having a prior encounter
with the two men earlier that night in the parking lot of Cara Irish Pub. He stated after
Bougie could not be located he “cleared the scene and ended my involvement with this case.” He described happening upon the wreck shortly after.

In the course of being questioned about the accident in the following days, Kondrup could
not keep his story straight about the events of that evening, according to police reports.
Breault described earlier this year that Kondrup “lied by omission” by making these
statements, and not owning up to it when questioned by his superiors. Breault explained the
circumstances when he was questioned by Foster’s following the revocation of Kondrup’s
certification to work as an officer by the New Hampshire Police Standards and Training
Council, more than eight months after the crash.

In 2021, Kondrup had attempted to appeal the termination of his employment due to his
untruthfulness. In a letter from the city to the lawyer representing Kondrup, the city
attorney, Joshua Wyatt, stated, “had the Snapchat messages not provided the clue necessary
for investigators to dig deeper and question the account of events that had initially been
provided, then the underlying events surrounding the attempt to stop may have never come
to light.”

‘Lying by omission’: Dover police officer loses job, career for lying about double fatal crash
on Sixth Street

Lawsuit says officer and city are liable for two deaths
The lawsuit alleges negligence by Kondrup, stating he created a “foreseeable zone of risk by
engaging in an unauthorized high-speed pursuit of Joseph Bougie in violation of several
Dover Police Department policies and procedures.” It alleges that Kondrup did not exercise
reasonable care when he activated his blue lights in an attempt to stop, failed to notify the
police dispatch, failed to seek authorization for the pursuit, and “operated his patrol car
recklessly over twice the posted speed limit, thus causing Bougie to flee at a high rate of
speed and lose control of his vehicle.”

The suit against the city states that the city is liable for Kondrup’s negligence while he was an
employee of the city.

‘Career-ender’ Why fired police officer’s lie about fatal crash means no more 2nd chances

The lawsuit points to the interaction Kondrup had with the men prior to the chase and crash,
and the lies Kondrup told after it happened, all citing Dover city documents regarding the
firing of the officer. On March 26, 2021, then-police Lt. Scott Pettingill confronted Kondrup
about why he intentionally omitted facts from the night of the incident. He admitted that he
lied because he panicked and felt he was responsible for causing the crash and was concerned
about subsequent consequences. Kondrup made a similar statement during his
decertification hearing.

“Dover Police Department policy requires that police officers notify dispatch before engaging
in an attempt to stop by operating a police vehicle in excess of 20 miles per hour (m.p.h.)
over the speed limit,” the lawsuit states. “Officer Kondrup failed to notify dispatch that he
had activated his emergency lights in an attempt to stop.”

What the families are seeking
Murphy’s estate is represented by Michael Rainboth and James Coughenour, and Bougie’s
estate is represented by Frank Quinn. The families said they do not want to comment at this
time, according to Rainboth. Both families have previously expressed frustration with what
they called a lack of transparency from the department when Kondrup was fired for lying
about his interactions with their sons the night they died.

The families are not seeking a specified dollar amount in the lawsuit, which names Pamela
Leighton (Bougie’s mother) and Sarah Rosenberger (Murphy’s mother) as representatives of
the families. The suit states they are seeking “appropriate damages, including compensatory,
equitable, and punitive damages, attorneys’ fees and costs … and such other relief as may be
just and equitable.”

Wyatt, the Dover city attorney, declined Thursday to comment on the lawsuit.