Local News

Report Says Trooper Was Speeding Without Blue Lights and Siren

Posted January 21, 1996

— January 22, 1996 - 10:02 a.m. EST

The state Highway Patrol says a trooper involved in a fatal wreck last week in Durham was driving about 5 mph over the speed limit and did not have his blue lights and siren activated at the time of the crash.

That finding and radio transmissions from the trooper were released at a morning press conference.

Patrick Shannon, 25, of Cary was killed in the 2 p.m. Tuesday accident as he left a gas station and pulled into the path of Trooper Tony Gibson's car.

At issue is whether Gibson's marked patrol car had any emergency or hazard lights activated when it hit Shannon's car.

Witnesses and Gibson have given conflicting statements. The patrol said Monday that Gibson had turned off his blue lights and flashing headlights before the collision, after he no longer was needed as a backup on an unrelated emergency call. Policy calls for troopers to use blue lights and siren when exceeding the posted speed limit in response to a call.

Gibson told the patrol that he did not remember if he turned off his hazard lights when he turned off the blue lights and headlights. The trooper also told investigators in one of three different interviews that Shannon was not looking his way before the collision.

Gibson had said he was driving the speed limit -- 45 mph. Several witnesses have said the trooper's car was speeding.

Final results of the patrol's investigation, due in about two weeks, will be turned over to the Durham County District Attorney's Office for a decision on whether charges should be filed against the trooper.

The patrol said that Gibson, who is under a doctor's care, will be able to return to normal duties when he is mentally and physically fit to do so

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