UPDATE: Watertown police squad car heavily damaged in crash; officer facing disciplinary action

Watertown police

January 19, 2022

Mike Tanner

WATERTOWN, S.D.–A Watertown police officer escaped injury, but the squad car he was in sustained heavy damage in a crash this week.

Assistant Police Chief Ryan Remmers says the officer, who the department did not identify in a news release, was trying to stop a motorist for speeding Monday afternoon in the area of Third Avenue and 11th Street Northeast.

The officer had his emergency lights activated, and was intermittently sounding the squad car’s siren.

As the officer was going through the intersection of Third Avenue and 11th Street, he collided with a Chevy Traverse that was southbound.

A 41 year-old female passenger in the Traverse was taken to Prairie Lakes Hospital with non life-threatening injuries. 

The South Dakota Highway Patrol responded to the scene, and investigated the crash.  Their investigation is ongoing. 

Department of Public Safety spokesman Tony Mangan, in an email to KWAT News, identifies the officer involved as 27 year-old Karter Lingen, and the driver of the Traverse as 80 year-old Dean Spooner of Watertown. Spooner was not injured, nor were four other female passengers in that vehicle, ages 10, 11, 12 and 17.

Charges are pending against both drivers. 

Watertown City Manager Amanda Mack says Lingen has been employed by the Watertown Police Department since May 16, 2016.

An internal investigation by Watertown police found the officer involved in the crash violated department policies, and administrative disciplinary action is being taken against that officer in accordance with policies from the police department and the city. 

KWAT News reached out to City Attorney Matt Roby to see what disciplinary action the city would take. His response was, “the city is not able to comment any further regarding personnel matters.”