Local News

UNC officer resigns after wreck involving football players

Posted August 17, 2011

— A University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill police officer who handled a wreck involving four UNC football players in May resigned last month, WRAL News has learned.

Chief Jeff McCracken, director of UNC's Department of Public Safety, said Wednesday that Officer Shawn Smith resigned July 15, more than a month after the early-morning wreck involving senior linebacker Herman Davidson, senior offensive tackle Carl Gaskins Jr., junior linebacker Dion Guy and senior linebacker Ebele Okakpu.

Smith, who was assigned to escort the football team during home and away games, had been with the department for nearly 10 years, McCracken said.

According to a May 29 wreck report, Davidson lost control and overturned a 2000 Ford SUV on Mason Farm Road around 3 a.m. when he swerved to miss a car.

The report also indicated that Smith detected alcohol but that Davidson, 21, did not seem impaired. Smith did not give him a sobriety test and cited him not having a valid driver's license.

Officer Shawn Smith UNC officer's resignation raises questions of favoritism

The SUV was traveling approximately 45 mph in a 25 mph zone, and Smith noted later that he had changed the speed from 25 mph to 45 mph based on the "severity of the wreck and other factors."

The SUV had an estimated $18,000 in damages, the report indicated.

McCracken did not say why Smith resigned and said that he can't discuss the case. He did say, however, that there was no disciplinary action taken regarding the wreck. Field sobriety tests, he said, are at the discretion of officers.

News of the wreck comes as the UNC football program is reeling from the loss of head coach Butch Davis, who was abruptly fired last month on the heels of a lengthy NCAA investigation into the football program.


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  • slipscomb9466 Aug 18, 2011

    Those four together couldn't get one education.

  • driverkid3 Aug 18, 2011

    There is something I don't understand about the sports worshipping at Universities. I THOUGH you were supposed to get an education, instead, it seems that these schools are used as a step for processing sports players.

    I'll take a good education over any sport ANY DAY!

  • thepeopleschamp Aug 18, 2011

    "Its obvious that the cop tried to cover up a DUI by a former football player." WufSkins

    If he was covering it up why did he then even mention alcohol in the report?

  • ncguy Aug 18, 2011

    Campus police paid for by the Rams club.

  • WufSkins Aug 18, 2011

    Its obvious that the cop tried to cover up a DUI by a former football player. You don't arrove at the scene and discover a car that's been flipped with substantial damage, smell alcohol, and fail to give a sobriety test. Its obvious all were drinking, why else would the guy let him drive his father's car? Because he was the least drunk! Yes, this happens all the time, but 99% of the time, the cop handles it with proper protocol. He did not, thus why he is no longer with the department. Again, just throw another prong onto the Butch Davis fire.

  • heelsfaninraleigh Aug 18, 2011

    Someone said "This situation is not dissimilar to the one last summer that had 3 or 4 NCSU players stopped and caught with drugs. The officers involved determined that there was not a major infraction, so they were released. Was THAT a cover up too?? Just askin..."

    First of all, it was not covered up. It was well-reported when it happened.

    Secondly, the officers determined nothing. They gathered evidence and reported what they found, as they were supposed to do. Someone else determines whether or not to prosecute. But this was an illegal search and seizure so it was dismissed. That's what normally happens when the officers don't follow the law. TOB took over and punished them accordingly. They sat out 1-2 games, and there is no telling what the marine put them through in practice. I can assure you it was worse than picking up roadside garbage for a number of hours!
    TruthBKnown Returns

    Thank you for that laugh!!! You are good for something tbuk.

    "First of all, it was not covered

  • anti-Hans Aug 18, 2011

    An officer who professes his love and admiration for all things Tar Heels. An officer who has pictures on his social website giving the finger to Duke and State coaches. Class act.

    He tried to cover this up. He later changed the speed from 25 to 45 - why? Maybe pressure from his supervisor? To all the denials in Chapel Hill - denial is not a river in Africa. Open your eyes and admit the truth.

  • heelsfaninraleigh Aug 18, 2011

    Deny, deflect, cover up, and if all else fails - "everybody else is doing it". The the previous poster saying this is the same as drug charges that were dropped against NC State - you are ALMOST as smart as a box of hammers. That was a case of illegal search and seizure, where an off duty officer overstepped their bounds to arrest the subjects. This case is the exact oppositie, where an on duty officer did not practice due diligence to enforce the law against players that were, at least, in a suspicious accident where alcohol was present. 78FJ40

    Oh, too funny!! Your players are caught with weed and PEDs but, no worries because it was an illegal search.

    As to your comment that this was a coverup, if that were the case, why would the officer have even have mentioned alcohol? He could have completely left that out of his report and no one would have ever known. Let's don't forget, his superior said no disciplinary action was taken. If for no other reason than to cover his rear, McC

  • ProudBlackSingleMother Aug 18, 2011

    A corrupt cop? Academics taking a back seat to sports?

    Seems like normal day to day business in NC.

  • heelsfaninraleigh Aug 18, 2011

    So nice to see some rational comments from a few State Fans and self-confessed ABCers. Then you have the usual irrational comments from the wralsportsfan.com regulars, TruthBUnknown and bpayne812.

    TBUK just makes up stuff and b-royal-pain thinks only drunks have wrecks. smh