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Soldier Charged in Fatal Wreck Banned From Driving

Posted December 20, 2006

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— A 25-year-old soldier charged in connection with a Monday wreck that killed three people will be confined to Fort Bragg and banned from driving, a judge said Wednesday.

Clayton Morgan, 25, a member of the 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, is charged with three counts of involuntary manslaughter. Two conditions of his release on a $20,000 unsecured bond are that he remain on base and not drive.

A silver Nissan Pathfinder was traveling northbound on Reilly Road at about 3 p.m. Monday when it slammed into a gold Honda Accord that was stopped at the light at Fillyaw Road, police said. The impact caused the Honda to hit a motorcycle that was turning left onto Reilly Road.

The Pathfinder then went airborne and hit a Mercury Grand Marquis, bounced off and hit a burgundy Dodge minivan, police said.

Hyo Kwong Griffin, 48, of 7321 Avalon Drive in Fayetteville, and her 9-year-old son, Joshua, who were in the Accord, died at the scene, police said. The Griffins were on their way to pick up Joshua's basketball uniform at the time of the wreck, friends said.

The motorcyclist, Tom Parent, 48, a Fort Bragg soldier who lived at 966 Kennasaw Drive in Fayetteville, also died at the scene.

Police said speed and inattention were factors in the wreck, although they haven't said how fast the Pathfinder was going.

"All he could tell me was, 'I remember seeing the brown car. I said, 'Oh, my God,' and the next thing I knew, I was waking up after the wreck,'" said Jack Carter, Morgan's lawyer.

Morgan declined to comment after his court hearing Wednesday morning. But Carter said the soldier somehow became distracted, adding that he wasn't talking on a cell phone while driving and -- as far as he knows -- wasn't under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

"Drugs and alcohol are not involved in this. There is no question of intoxication in this case at all," Carter said, adding that he's unsure whether Morgan had taken medication for anxiety before the crash.

Morgan and his wife moved to Fayetteville in August from Fort Lewis, Wash., and Carter said the wreck has shaken the soldier.

"One of the reasons he's not sitting in my office having a conversation with me is the fact that he seems to be in a funk, and it's difficult for him to talk about it," Carter said.

Police said they haven't determined if drugs or alcohol were involved in the wreck.

Morgan pleaded guilty in 2000 in Mecklenburg County to speeding and driving without a license, according to court records.
28 Comments

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  • pingday Feb 2, 2007

    Jesus said you who are without sin throw the first stone. Everyone has sinned and fallen short of the glory of the God we serve.SO Quick to point fingers at someone elses turmoil so noone notices your iniquities. Yes I know what happened was a tragedy, and I believe God has a destiny for every one of us.This young man is very-very remorseful at what has happened.His blood turned up clean. He is a man that has been in the war and fought for all of your freedom, when so many of you are to wrapped up in yourselves or to chicken to do so. He will have to live with this pain for the rest of his life, but there is nothing that you can do to bring back life. Only Jesus can, and as much as we don't understand life and death this man was just a tool in to the inevitable, if it happened to any of us , you should learn, like Jesus to forgive,The Bible says, if you cannot forgive then Jesus can not forgive you of your shortcomings. I pray for all Families including Seargent Morgan

  • adevillier Dec 21, 2006

    i believe if you are not going the speed limit, or going way over the speed limit, in your mind you have to know something bad could happen, he might have not woke up that day and planed on killing someone,but if you break the law by speeding something should happen to him, he needs to be punished for taking 3 peoples lives. not to get back out into society and put more familys at danger. i disagree, we as an society can prevent alot of bad things from happening, we choose to talk on the phone, eat while we drive, play loud music in the car, do other things beside drive and pay attention to your surroundings. the sad thing about it all is the innocent die. he might not of intentionally done it but he could have prevented it.

  • whiffleball Dec 21, 2006

    Oh, and all those who say, "MURDER! how harsh." Try being at the end of the line when someone calls to tell you your child has been killed. Then suffer through over three years of legal wrangling where the lawyers (I went through two of the most crooked in Cumberland County) end up with 60% of any compensation. Then have a local pregnant cokehead tell you she's having your deceased son's child which you have to later pay for all court proceedings and DNA testing to prove she has lied 100%. Then be told you can't sue the County for the missing stop sign because you didn't suffer enough damage to make it worthwhile for the lawyer to do the filing. Have the FPO not return your calls, then hear how sorry they felt for the killer who ran the stop sign. Then at the end of the three years get a letter from the killer saying how sorry he was, but he was 'hurting too' and now he had to 'take medication.' Yes, go through all that with a smile on your face at how justice has been served.

  • whiffleball Dec 21, 2006

    Oh, and all those who say, "MURDER! how harsh." Try being at the end of the line when someone calls to tell you your child has been killed. Then suffer through over three years of legal wrangling where the lawyers (I went through two of the most crooked in Cumberland County) end up with 60% of any compensation. Then have a local pregnant cokehead tell you she's having your deceased son's child which you have to later pay for all court proceedings and DNA testing to prove she has lied 100%. Then be told you can't sue the County for the missing stop sign because you didn't suffer enough damage to make it worthwhile for the lawyer to do the filing. Have the FPO not return your calls, then hear how sorry they felt for the killer who ran the stop sign. Then at the end of the three years get a letter from the killer saying how sorry he was, but he was 'hurting too' and now he had to 'take medication.' Yes, go through all that with a smile on your face at how justice has been served.

  • whiffleball Dec 21, 2006

    Oh, and all those who say, "MURDER! how harsh." Try being at the end of the line when someone calls to tell you your child has been killed. Then suffer through over three years of legal wrangling where the lawyers (I went through two of the most crooked in Cumberland County) end up with 60% of any compensation. Then have a local pregnant cokehead tell you she's having your deceased son's child which you have to later pay for all court proceedings and DNA testing to prove she has lied 100%. Then be told you can't sue the County for the missing stop sign because you didn't suffer enough damage to make it worthwhile for the lawyer to do the filing. Have the FPO not return your calls, then hear how sorry they felt for the killer who ran the stop sign. Then at the end of the three years get a letter from the killer saying how sorry he was, but he was 'hurting too' and now he had to 'take medication.' Yes, go through all that with a smile on your face at how justice has been served.

  • bca37jr Dec 21, 2006

    America Wake up! Think about what has happened. We fly on the roads like it is the Indy 500, especially in NC. We don't care if we kill anyone or we would abide by the speed limits. This was a tragedy. We need to learn from this incident. Slow down. Yes the Sgt in the Army needs to have consequences for his actions. It was not intentional, but he knows right from wrong. If he was speeding as they say then he knows better. The laws will deal with him. Let's reflect on the mother and the son, also the motorcycle driver. Life's that were cut short. We all can PREVENT this from happening. America has pulled together when needed, Why not now? Slow down again pay attention. I am a retired Air Force guy who has been hit by someone who ran a red light. I was blessed and fortunate. Please America/North Carolina SLOW DOWN and pay attention behind the wheel.

  • grandmadelight1950 Dec 21, 2006

    Oh My Lord, he has KILLED 3 people (one a child) and all He gets is Stay on Base and DO NOT DRIVE. (Morgan pleads guilty in 2000 in Mecklenburg Co. to Speeding and Driving w/o a License, according to court records.) So that is all he gets is a Slap on the Hand and Don't do it again. So What/Who is there to Stop him from driving w/o a license again? HE KILLED 3 INNOCENT People. So how many people does he have to KILL to get someone's attention? How many does he have to kill before he gets put in JAIL where he belongs? Our LEGAL System needs some MAJOR Changes to get people like this OFF the Road and JAIL TIME!

  • nyiawormley Dec 21, 2006

    You know, I totally agree with a more harsh punishment. He was driving reckless, and it has to cross your mind at some point that it could be dangerous. Some people like to push the limit, just because they can. God know how mentally messed-up this man is from being in the war. The justice system sucks! Just because he didn't intentionally kill the innocent, it is considered manslaughter. Please...tell that to the families who lost their loved ones.

  • whiffleball Dec 21, 2006

    He'll get a handslap in Cumberland County. The man who killed my son and his best friend and injured 5 others 11/10/98 on Country Club got less than that; $1500 fine for the deaths and community service. At least Morgan has already engaged the services of Jack Carter. Maybe he'll get time after all.

  • ECU Alumni 06 Dec 21, 2006

    I witnessed yet another bad accident in fayetteville tonight. It is christmas and people are thinking about too much and is stressed. In reality, it is terrible driving in fayetteville and it feels like people around me are in a race. I am amazed how some people drive around here and the road rage is out of hand. I don't believe that the guy intentionally did it. He probably feels bad, embarrased, and the thought about that probably scares him. He most likely feels guilty and blames his self. Psych drugs can change a persons personality as well but who knows. I think that his punishment is correct. I feel like I should pray every time I get into a vehicle for now on and for others.

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