New information has surfaced on the death of Ye Meng Yuan, the 15-year-old girl that was killed after being run over by two San Francisco Fire Department rigs in the aftermath of the Asiana Flight 214 crash. Documents from a San Francisco Police Department investigation has revealed that one of the firefighter drivers that ran over Meng Yuan lied to investigators days after the incident. The documents, which were obtained through a Public Records Act request, also show that investigative guidelines were violated when potential evidence from the Meng Yuan case was not handed directly over to the police.
Ye Meng Yuan was ejected from the aircraft during the crash of Asiana Flight 214. She was run over by two different fire department rigs minutes after the crash. The San Mateo County Coroner’s Office has stated that Meng Yuan was still alive when she was run over by the fire department rigs.
The key points raised in the police investigation documents, as reported by the San Francisco Chronicle, include:
- Firefighter driver Elyse Duckett, who was behind the wheel of the second rig that ran over Meng Yuan, told police investigators four days after the crash that she couldn’t have run over Meng Yuan because the girl was covered by a tarp on the ground. Additionally, Duckett told investigators that Battalion Chief Mark Johnson had alerted her to Meng Yuan’s presence, so she drove around the girl. Her story, however, was contradicted by video footage captured by Johnson’s helmet camera, which showed Duckett’s rig running over the spot where Meng Yuan’s body was later found. Dale Carnes, the assistant deputy fire chief in charge of airport operations, agreed with investigators that Duckett had “lied to the police.”
- Other footage captured by a fire rig’s camera was the subject of clashes between police investigators and fire department officials. The footage was captured by a camera mounted on another rig driven by firefighter Jimmy Yee, who arrived at the crash scene before Duckett. The footage shows that a firefighter had pointed out Meng Yuan’s presence to Yee, who initially drove around her. Minutes later, however, Yee returned to the same area and drove over the girl. Police investigators learned of this footage captured by Yee’s rig five days after the crash.
- Once the police got wind of the footage captured by Yee’s rig, they sent an investigator to the airport maintenance shop. The investigator found technicians downloading the footage onto a hard drive, a violation of procedure, which requires police to have control of any potential evidence from the start of an investigation until it ends. The technicians were told by their superiors to keep the footage “to themselves.” Airport fire official Dale Carnes arrived at the scene and confronted the investigator, saying the footage captured by Yee’s rig was for the National Transportation Safety Board’s investigation of the Asiana crash. Carnes added that he was unaware of a police investigation. He asserted that he was “not required to notify the police regarding the videos.” Carnes denied trying to obstruct the police investigation
The police investigation found that Yee had ran over the girl twice. His rig appeared to roll over her lower body. When Meng Yuan’s body was found, her head had been crushed. It is believed that Duckett’s rig struck her head.