Her son was killed in a police pursuit that she believes should've never happened. So, she's suing.

Posted at 5:59 PM, Feb 13, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-13 17:59:36-05

PRINCE GEORGE COUNTY, Va. — The family of a man who was killed in a high-speed police pursuit crash is suing the officers who engaged in the chase because they believe the chase should have never happened.

“I’m not going to stop until we get justice, no, because he didn’t deserve that," said Rosa Bassette, the mother of 45-year-old Andre Bassette, Jr. “I want things to be right for him so he can be at peace and we can be at peace also.”

On July 28, 2023, police reports showed a Prince George County police officer tried to pull over Tequan Taylor's pickup truck near the Sisisky Gate at Fort Gregg-Adams for driving 22 miles over the speed limit.

However, Taylor did not stop, so officers pursued him along Oaklawn Boulevard and into Hopewell, reaching speeds up to 100 miles per hour, according to police reports.

Two and a half miles down the road, police said Taylor ran a red light and collided with Andre Bassette's vehicle at the intersection of Ashland Street, sending Bassette's car into a utility pole.

“He was just an innocent bystander," Rosa Bassette said.

Rosa Bassette
Rosa Bassette

Taylor ran away after the crash but was later caught and arrested. He has been charged with second-degree murder.

As Taylor goes through a criminal prosecution, Bassette believes he's not the only person responsible for her son's death.

She took legal action against the officers who chased him.

“It was unnecessary. It was to me. It was. I lost my son behind this, and my son was a very, very nice gentleman. He left a 17-year-old daughter here. They [were] very bonded. My son is gone. He's gone," Bassette said.

On Monday, Bassette's attorney Virginia Tehrani filed an $18-million lawsuit against the involved Prince George police officers and supervisors alleging gross negligence.

“For the Bassette family, they're grieving based on these really poor decisions that should not have been made and were against county policy," Tehrani said in an interview with CBS 6.

Her complaint stated that Prince George Police had a policy that "prohibited police officers from pursuing motorists for traffic infractions and misdemeanor offenses such as speeding and reckless driving.”

Yet, by chasing after Taylor, who was known to be accused of misdemeanor reckless driving, officers "failed to comply with required training, practices, policies, regulations, and laws," according to the complaint.

Prince George Police's policy, obtained by CBS 6 through a Freedom of Information Act request, only permits officers to initiate pursuits under two circumstances:

  1. Upon reasonable belief that the occupant(s) of the vehicle has/have committed or attempted to commit a felony crime
  2. The on-duty supervisor may permit a lawful police pursuit for any other extreme, unusual, situation where human life is reasonably believed to be in imminent jeopardy should police intervention not occur

Police Chief Keith Early previously told CBS 6, following an internal investigation of the pursuit, "Typically, reckless driving alone would not fall within either of these two conditions."
The lawsuit alleged police "created an exceptionally dangerous environment for the public," and Tehrani said one of the officer's testimonies at a preliminary hearing in the criminal case on Monday further proved her claims.

“And in his testimony yesterday, he said he realized during the pursuit that it was quote, "unsafe," because he realized that there were other people on the road in Hopewell," Tehrani said.

For Bassette, she hopes the lawsuit sends a larger message to the public.

“When you lose your loved ones because of the police chasing people and stuff like this, this got to stop. This really got to stop because it's just hurting people," Bassette said.

Her message to Taylor: "I forgive him because God is a forgiving God, but he has to pay for his mistake."

CBS 6 reached out to Prince George County Police Chief Keith Early for a response to the allegations within the complaint.

"I am not providing you with a response," Early said in an email.

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Rosa Bassette

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Screenshot 2023-08-28 180053.png

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This is a developing story, so anyone with more information can email to send a tip.

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