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Bad driving or police chase? Mom wants answers in daughter's traffic death

Police officer who tried to pull over teen has prior citations for violating chase policy
D'Asia Monroe
Posted at 2:03 PM, Apr 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-21 23:42:32-04

RIVIERA BEACH, Fla. — D’Asia Monroe was set to go to Palm Beach Lakes Community High School's senior prom, and graduate this spring.

“And I can’t even dress my baby girl up, because she’s no longer here,” said Monroe's mother, Mikea Brown.

Monroe, and her boyfriend Deshawn Knowles, died in a crash on March 6 after a Riviera Beach Police sergeant tried to pull the SUV over.

In a report, Sgt. Tabitha Smith says she saw Monroe make a U-turn at Blue Heron Boulevard and Garden Road. Monroe was into the U-turn when, Smith says, she smashed into another vehicle, then sped off west on Blue Heron Boulevard.

A mile and a half later, the SUV carrying Monroe and Knowles crashed through a fence and landed in a canal near the VA Medical Center.

“I just woke up the next morning with the police telling me my daughter was dead,” lamented Brown.

WPTV's Contact 5 took a look at Smith’s personnel file.

Since joining the force in 1994, Smith has been disciplined for insubordination, failing to appear in court, “insolent, rude, and disrupted” behavior, and prone to vehicluar crashes.

Her file also shows she had seven accidents in her squad car and once drove off from a gas pump with the nozzle still attached to her police cruiser.

Signficantly, in 1995, and again in 2020, Riviera Beach Police cited Smith for violating the department’s chase policy.

In 1995, she was cited for “reckless use of a patrol car in pursuing a traffic violator.” Two years ago, Smith was cited again for “excessive speeds,” chasing a man who drove away from a traffic stop.

“Something has to be done,” said Nautilus Dokes-Brown, Monroe’s aunt. “It shouldn’t have to get to this point for something to be done.”

Dokes-Brown says the details of the tragedy don’t make sense, because Monroe never had a driver’s license, and was just learning how to drive.

“She drives so slow,” Dokes-Brown said.

“We want answers, we just want to know what happened. What took place,” added Brown, who wishes her daughter pulled over and took responsibility for driving without a license.

Instead, she wonders if a Riviera Beach police officer, twice cited for breaking the chase policy, bears some responsibility.

“I just want to understand what happened,” Brown said of her daughter’s deadly crash. “She still had life to live. She was just 18.”

Contact 5 asked Riviera Beach Police for dash camera video from Smith’s squad car, which might indicate if Smith launched a chase, or if Monroe just panicked and sped away.

However, police would not release the video, saying the case remains under investigation.

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