Local News

Durham officer charged in fatal crash in California

Posted September 12, 2012 12:36 p.m. EDT
Updated September 13, 2012 3:59 p.m. EDT

— A Durham police recruit was arrested last week in connection with a fatal crash in northern California.

Joshua P. Christensen, 26, of Raleigh, was charged with vehicular manslaughter. He was hired a year ago by the Durham Police Department and has been on military leave, city officials said.

The California Highway Patrol said Christensen's 2003 Dodge Ram pickup crossed the center line on State Highway 65 south of Wheatland, Calif., on Sept. 6 and collided with a 2008 Suzuki motorcycle.

The motorcyclist, Ralph Edward Watson, 55, of Culver City, Calif., was killed.

Wheatland is about 50 miles north of Sacramento, Calif.

Christensen is a reservist with the 940th Security Forces Squadron at Beale Air Force Base, which is north of Wheatland.

“The Durham Police Department is aware of the accident and arrest. It is being looked into by our Professional Standards Division, which is standard procedure,” department spokeswoman Kammie Michael said Wednesday.