DETROIT – A Detroit police officer has been charged with involuntary manslaughter after crashing their vehicle into another vehicle in February, killing a well-known lawyer.
Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy announced Thursday that Detroit police officer Teaira Funderburg, 29, has been charged with involuntary manslaughter and willful neglect of duty. Funderburg is accused of striking a vehicle while responding to an emergency situation on Feb. 8, killing the driver of the vehicle, 58-year-old Clifford Woodards.
According to Worthy, at about 12:57 a.m. that day, Funderburg was reportedly responding to a request for backup, traveling eastbound on I-96 in a marked Ford Explorer with lights and sirens activated. She then reportedly exited the freeway onto the Jeffries Service Drive, traveling at a high rate of speed.
Officials say Funderburg disregarded a red light at the intersection of West Chicago Road and the Jeffries Service Drive before fatally striking Woodards’ vehicle, a Lexus IS 250.
Woodwards was transported to the hospital following the crash, where he was pronounced dead.
Funderburg was charged Thursday with one count of involuntary manslaughter, a felony with a punishment of up to 15 years in prison, and one count of willful neglect of duty, a misdemeanor with a punishment of up to one year in jail.
Funderburg is expected to be arraigned in Wayne County at 2:30 p.m. Thursday, June 24.
Prosecutor Worthy said that the charges made Thursday were not due to Woodard’s reputation as a prominent Detroit lawyer.
“Proper investigations take time and that is what we strive for in every case. After a thorough analysis of the evidence, the defendant has been charged,” Worthy said. “It’s true that Mr. Woodards was respected in his profession, but the facts and evidence are what caused us to charge in this case.”