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Report: Wake Deputy Going Double Speed Limit Before Wreck

Posted January 14, 2008

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— State troopers believe that prior to a three-vehicle wreck, a Wake County deputy was going 90 mph while he went to join a pursuit of carjacking suspects.

The state Highway Patrol on Monday released a preliminary report of its findings into the Jan. 2 crash that sent a 58-year-old woman to the hospital. Troopers emphasized that their reconstruction of the accident has not been finished and the report is not complete.

Master Deputy Anthony Locklear, 37, was traveling at 90 mph on Rock Quarry Road while going to help in a pursuit on U.S. Highway 64 Bypass, according to the report. Troopers believe that Locklear lost control of his cruiser while negotiating a sharp curve.

His car crossed the center line near Ruby Drive and collided head-on with a Kia driven by Brenda Smith, authorities said. The cruiser then spun around and hit a second vehicle, driven by Ralph Ellis.

Locklear had slowed to 55 mph before impact, the report shows. His cruiser left tire marks 375 feet long.

The speed limit along Rock Quarry Road is 45 mph at that point.

Smith and Ellis were both originally going 45 mph and slowed to 40 mph before impact, according to the report. Neither of their vehicles left tire impressions.

Locklear's cruiser traveled 180 feet after impact, while Smith and Ellis's vehicles each traveled 25 feet or less, according to the report.

Smith remained at WakeMed on Monday morning. Hospital officials would not give an update on her condition. Smith, who works in Wake County Human Services, was in critical condition when she was admitted immediately after the accident.

Locklear, Ellis and two passengers in Ellis' car were treated at a local hospital and released.

When the wreck occurred, Locklear was headed to assist in a low-speed chase of two armed men suspected of stealing a Honda Accord from a Knightdale woman. The Accord hit several vehicles before the occupants ditched the car at Rock Quarry Road and Atkins Drive, Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison said.

"We were trying to make sure we stopped him before he hit somebody else," Harrison said.

A 16-year-old girl and a male juvenile were arrested while running from the scene. Authorities were still searching for two more people connected to the carjacking.

Troopers will present the final crash report to the Wake County district attorney when their investigation is completed.

Earlier, Wake County prosecutors said charges against Locklear were possible, but they were waiting on troopers' report.

"Nobody's above the law. Law enforcement is treated just like other motorists out traveling on the highway," Highway Patrol spokesman Lt. Everett Clendenin told WRAL a day after the accident.

"That's not saying that this deputy has done anything wrong. We're still investigating at this time."

Locklear has been with the Wake County Sheriff's Office since 1999. His job status remained intact while the investigation was under way.

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  • Adelinthe Jan 15, 2008

    I don't believe the officer should have been driving that fast unless the saving of a life was possible - certainly not to retrieve a stolen vehicle.

    Praying for them all.

    God bless.

    Rev. RB

  • wcnc Jan 15, 2008

    "If they can figure out an accident in a matter of a couple of day's for your everyday Joe Blow on the street then they can do it when an officer is involved as well."

    I'm guessing they are doing an accident recostruction and investigation because this is such a public accident and people want detailed answers. There is more to it than if he was speeding. They need to also figure out if he was correct in going that speed based on the conditions and the call, I'm sure. That isn't a factor in the everyday accident. Also, with everyday accidents, whether or not a ticket is warranted can usually be quite clear. And they just need to interview witnesses who are at the scene and then pass it on to insurance companies who probably take weeks or more to come to a conclusion as to fault in the accident. So, the everyday accident investigation does take a long time, it's just split up between officer and insurance company.

  • veekee Jan 15, 2008

    People actually have a responsibility to speak out about others who are put in a position of authority and use such poor judgement that people are harmed. No, they shouldn't not respond to calls, and no, they should obviously use higher speeds when responding to calls. But 90 miles an hour on a city street is insane. Clearly, the officer will lose his job and that is correct.

    Condemning all officers is wrong, but blindly saying they can just do anything they want and are "human too" and "everyone makes mistakes" is wrong as well. People who are given positions of power above the general public are held to a higher standard, regardless of pay.

  • uncfan89 Jan 15, 2008

    you know all the people out there that are bashing law enforcement speeding in pursuit of a criminal are the same ones that would be complaining that they took to long to get to them if they were the ones who needed help, maybe the officer was going to fast but always remember that they have to make quick judgements and they have to go on the info that they have at the time and some times they do make bad decisions, I hope all involved make a full recovery.

  • Dr. Dataclerk Jan 15, 2008

    This is not the first time an officer/deputy who speeds un-necessary when there is no emergency. When there is no emergency, they should drive like ordinary people; watching the speed limit should applied to them too.

  • 68_polara Jan 15, 2008

    I hope this doesn't result in police and firemen not exceeding the speed limit if I have to call them during an emergency. I don't think I would do their jobs for anything little pay and too many people ready to condemn them when anything happens whether their fault or not.

  • TechRescue Jan 15, 2008

    So I guess the two children in Granville County died for nothing.

    Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it.

  • whatusay Jan 15, 2008

    Give the officer a slap on the wrist and chalk this up to a learning experience. Everyone knows this was an accident caused by an over-enthusiastic officer who was trying to do his job. I am sure he has learned something from this experience and is very sorry for his part. Hope they catch the criminals that started this chain re-action.

  • mvnull Jan 15, 2008

    "Just curious, which departmental rule(s) did he violate?" Are you saying that endangering the public (reckless driving) doesn't violate any Wake County Sheriff Department rules?

  • gopanthers Jan 15, 2008

    I truly believe in and thank God for Law enforcement. But

    Nobody's above the law!! - If he deserve's punishment and or a ticket give him one and or let him face the music. Don't fire him or just sweep it under the rug, just let him pay for his mistake and move on. Yes apparently he did something wrong. But that does not make him a bad person. It makes him a person who used poor judgement. And who hasn't? atleast done that once in their life time? (including me)! This was an avoidable accident yes!! But that's just it, it was a horrible accident. Not an on purpose!! And I do agree 100% with those who have stated that it is strange/wrong what-ever to investgage an accident for a month or more when a Police Office is inovolved. If they can figure out an accident in a matter of a couple of day's for your everyday Joe Blow on the street then they can do it when an officer is involved as well.

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