Robinson R44
A 2009 Robinson R44 Raven II crashed into a cane field during a police chase. (Photo: Robinson Helicopter)

Fleeing Driver Charged with Deaths of Police Flight Crew

Baton Rouge police R44 helicopter crashed during a high-speed chase.

The driver of a car being pursued by a Baton Rouge, Louisiana police helicopter has been charged with the death of its flight crew. The 2009 Robinson R44 Raven II crashed into a cane field after apparently hitting a tree early on March 26, killing police officers Sgt. David Poirrier, 47, and Cpl. Scotty Canezaro, 38. 

The helicopter was aiding in the high-speed pursuit of DeAndre Bessye, 23, who allegedly was fleeing police in a 2014 Ford Mustang at speeds up to 150 mph. On March 27, he was being held on a $950,000 bond, charged with two counts of manslaughter, aggravated flight and obstruction, and hit and run. Bessye abandoned his car and later reported it stolen but was arrested after cell phone data linked him to the chase, during which he allegedly was driving without lights, ran multiple stop signs, and plowed through a construction zone. 

The helicopter took off at approximately 2:26 a.m. and crashed 12 minutes later. However, it was not reported missing until more than three hours later and the wreckage wasn't located until six hours after that, at 11 a.m. local time, when a family member of one of the dead crew pinged his cell phone.