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Report: Trooper going 120 mph before fatal Guilford wreck

Posted May 27, 2010

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— A state Highway Patrol trooper was pursuing a speeder at 120 mph when he collided with a car that turned into his path, killing two people, according to a report released Thursday.

Col. Randy Glover, commander of the Highway Patrol, said he has asked the state Attorney General's Office to conduct an outside investigation of the incident to ensure all policies and procedures were followed.

"I want every stone turned to make sure these questions are answered," Glover said in a Thursday morning news conference.

Guilford trooper wreck Patrol to review circumstances of high-speed wreck

Trooper J.D. Goodnight was trying to catch a Buick Skylark that was going south at 80 mph on U.S. Highway 29/70 in Guilford County on Sunday morning, authorities said. Sandra Allmond was northbound on the highway and made a left turn at a green light onto River Road, turning into Goodnight's path.

The collision caused Allmond's 1995 Honda to split apart, with the front end of the car traveling back across the median into the northbound lanes, according to the preliminary crash report released by the Highway Patrol.

Allmond, 55, of Thomasville, was killed on impact, and one of three children she had in her car, Taylor Strange, 11, of Jamestown, died at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem. The other two children, Allmond's grandson, 11-year-old Elijah Allmond, and 9-year-old Steven Strange, were treated at the hospital and released.

Goodnight is on paid injury leave.

The crash report notes that Allmond "failed to yield" when entering the intersection and that Goodnight tried to brake and swerve to avoid the collision. His 2009 Dodge patrol car was traveling at 95 mph at the point of collision, the report states.

"It rips at my heart for something like this to happen, but troopers have a job to do," Glover said. "They try their best to keep everybody safe, but sometimes things happen."

Allmond was attending church services about a half-hour before the wreck, said the Rev. Lee Stanley, assistant pastor at First Pentecostal Church in High Point.

"She was the type of person that, when she came into the room, she brought a light into the room," Stanley said. "I just don't think that she saw him in that instant, and it was just such a high rate of speed (that) it was hard for her to judge that."

Witnesses told investigators that Goodnight had his blue lights on, but they didn't hear a siren, the report notes.

Highway Patrol spokesman Sgt. Jeff Gordon said the agency has no policy that limits a trooper's speed during traffic enforcement efforts. A final crash report, which should be completed in about eight weeks after a full accident reconstruction is done, will help determine whether the patrol car's siren was on, he said.

Allmond's son, Gerald Allmond, called Goodnight's speed at the time of the wreck "gross negligence" and said the Highway Patrol should review and revise its protocols.

Gordon said the agency continually reviews its policies and procedures.

"Everybody can kind of sit back here and Monday-morning quarterback, but you've got to understand these sequence of events happen within a matter of seconds," Gordon said.

433 Comments

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  • thepeopleschamp May 28, 2010

    gpcatgirl, allow me to explain. The radioing ahead thing sounds really nice, but in the real world there is not a Trooper every 1/2 mile down the highway waiting to be called. In many counties at times there is 1 Trooper on duty. Have you ever been in an accident and had to wait for a Trooper? They don't show up in an instant. I was in a wreck years ago and had to wait for a Trooper for 2+ hours. The Trooper had to come from over 50 miles away because the Trooper in the area I was in was busy with a 4 wheeler fatality. Get it now? Radioing ahead, helicopters everywhere, and magical car stopping machines all sound very nice, but are not reality.

  • thepeopleschamp May 28, 2010

    "most cops are cops because they have some sort of personal issue and a power trip is what they need in life to function." Lickad

    So you have personally gotten to know all 600,000+ police officers in the U.S. and learned their background and personality and then you arrived at this conclusion? Amazing. Did you include in your scientific study the Trooper that delivered a death notification to a grandmother and gave her his frequent flyer miles to attend her daughters funeral? Tell us about the "power trip" he was on. Or the Trooper that donated a kidney to a non relative, tell us about his "personal issues".

  • Lickad May 28, 2010

    Seankelly is right, most cops are cops because they have some sort of personal issue and a power trip is what they need in life to function.

  • leo-nc May 28, 2010

    catgirl, get a clue. You know nothing of what you speak.

  • Alexia.1 May 28, 2010

    "...80 is a serious speed and usually when one is that fast there are other reasons as to why they are speeding so excessively" -- gpcatgirl

    It is, what was the speed limit before he got onto I-85 Business? Was it 65 or 70? Perhaps the driver moved off of I-85 onto I-85 Business (NC29), and didn't realize the speed limit had changed. By the time he got to that intersection, he might have slowed down to 55 or 60.

    What's the speed limit on I-85 at the intersection of I-85 Business? If the speed limit on I-85 is 55, then the driver was clearly flying recklessly, but if it was 70, then I'd have a different opinion.

  • gpcatgirl May 28, 2010

    The important thing here now is that the rest of the LEO's learn a valuable lesson and try to be more careful in the future. I do think that it was the troopers fault they do have radios and there is no reason they should not be using them. God bless the families of all involved in this tragic accident.

  • 1 awesome Dad May 28, 2010

    I will never understand how so many of us can put ourselves in the shoes of this LEO. 80 is a serious speed and usually when one is that fast there are other reasons as to why they are speeding so excessively. Whose to say the speeding car was not driven by an impaired person. I know of nowhere where 80 is acceptable in NC. Granted 120 mph is fast and dangerous however this woman should have seen his blue lights and should have waited for him. I agree that this is terrible but to bash a man who was doing his job to me seems a bit ridiculous. We don't know if he tried to use his radio, we don't know if this person was driving all over the road and posed a threat let alone by his speed. So we need to support both families and support the Highway Patrol if not for these law enforcement officers who do have then to protect us from irresponsible drivers who drive as they want to on our highways.

  • JMackneil May 28, 2010

    another lesson i have learned in 15 years....its ok to say you (talking about "us cops") are sorry. a lesson lost in the police academy teachings. we are all human. unfortunately, in this instance, an "i'm sorry" is not going to cut it.

    #1 killer of police officers last year are traffic accidents.

  • JMackneil May 28, 2010

    yo silverwolf...not saying it didn't happen, but you have not presented the other (the officer's) side of the story/back story. hence, the aggressive and alarmist attitude that we usually run into when we pull someone over for a minor offense. thats the reason we are so cynical.
    pipe smoked.

  • henry1 May 28, 2010

    Before someone labels me a cop hater, let me say I'm a 59 year old who appreciates the job law enforcement does. I also recognize the wisdom that age brings when anticipating the dangers and consequences of our actions. Any crime short of murder, shots fired at a LEO, etc. does NOT justify speeds of 120 mph on a road with at grade intersections even with lights and siren. When the trooper applied his foot to the accelerator and approached the intersection at that speed, he was guilty of gross neglience. The job of any prudent LEO is to evaluate the consequences of their actions versus the gravity of the crime being commited. In this case the trooper failed with horrific consequences. And if not the radio, just how many black Buick Skylarks are there in NC to run the registration on?

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