Mayor backs police chief in spite of mistakes in LMPD Explorer investigation

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A Louisville Metro Police officer who was driving 27 miles over the posted speed limit before a crash that killed a woman last year was suspended by the department for 30 days.

Det. Christopher Baker violated police policy when he was late to work on March 26, 2017, and speeding on Fern Valley Road when his marked police cruiser hit Bishnu Bhujel’s Honda, killing the 42-year-old.

According to a police report, Baker was driving eastbound and Bhujel turned in front of the cruisers' path. Bhujel, a mother of five, later died at the hospital. 

The police report revealed the officer was driving 72 miles per hour in a 45 mile per hour zone. Bhujel's family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Baker in August, claiming the officer was negligent and showed indifference to Bhujel's life. The lawsuit was settled this month for more than $820,000.

Baker also is no longer allowed to use his cruiser off duty, according to a June 15 disciplinary letter to Baker from Chief Steve Conrad.

"The conduct cited above clearly warrants discipline," Conrad wrote. "I consider the suspension and restrictions on your police vehicle to be both appropriate and necessary to the maintenance of good order and discipline within the Department. Any further violations of this nature will warrant termination."

The Jefferson Commonwealth's Attorney's office reviewed the case but chose not to present any possible charges to a grand jury, according to Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Jeff Cooke. 

Murphy said the family holds no animosity toward Baker, calling the wreck a "sad situation all around."

The family are refugees from Nepal and Bhujel was the main source of income, he said. So the wreck was "like a double tragedy. They come here looking for a better life and lose their primary bread winner," Murphy said.   

The goal of the lawsuit was to "take care of her family for the foreseeable future and I think we accomplished that," Murphy said. "They have no animosity towards Baker, just a very deep sense of loss and that is never going away."

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Digital Reporter

Jason Riley is a criminal justice reporter for He joined WDRB News in 2013 after 14 years with The Courier-Journal. He graduated from Western Kentucky University. Jason be reached at 502-585-0823 and