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Report: Woman caused fatal wreck with trooper

Posted August 9, 2010

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— A woman who was killed in a May collision with a state trooper caused the wreck, although the trooper's speed and the fact that he didn't have his siren on at the time contributed to the severity of the crash, according to a Highway Patrol investigation released Monday.

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 May 23, authorities said. Sandra Allmond was northbound on the highway on her way home from church 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, and Allmond, 55, of Thomasville, was killed on impact.

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.

The Highway Patrol released a 431-page investigative report that included testimony from witnesses and information from an examination of the vehicles, the intersection and an accident reconstruction team.

"As tragic as the situation is, we did do a thorough investigation and looked at every different angle," said Sgt. Jeff Gordon, spokesman for the Highway Patrol. "We know that this is tragic both for the family, but also its something that wears very heavy on the sleeve of the trooper."

Guilford County trooper wreck Patrol changes policy after fatal collision

Two witnesses said Goodnight had his blue lights on, but he hadn't activated his siren, as he chased after the Skylark. Goodnight told investigators that he didn't want to reach down and turn the siren on while speeding on the highway.

Investigators also spoke briefly with Elijah Allmond a few hours after the wreck while he was in the hospital, and he said he saw the patrol car coming toward the intersection with its blue lights flashing "and then Grandma turned," according to the report.

"No physical evidence or witness testimony has been obtained or serves to explain why Mrs. Allmond did not yield at the green light ... to the oncoming patrol vehicle displaying flashing blue lights," the report states. "The failure to yield the right of way to oncoming traffic is considered the causative factor in this collision."

Still, the report noted, "the speed at which (Goodnight) operated his vehicle contributed to the severity of the collision."

A preliminary report estimated that Goodnight was traveling at 120 mph down the highway and that he 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 preliminary report stated.

The Highway Patrol has no policy that limits a trooper's speed during traffic enforcement efforts, Gordon said.

The investigative report also found that "had Trooper Goodnight been operating his vehicle's siren on this occasion, it may have provided an audible warning for motorists in the area."

Gordon said the patrol has since amended its policies to require troopers to activate both their blue lights and their sirens when they are trying to catch speeders.

"The last thing the Highway Patrol wants to do is put the general public's life in danger," he said.

Goodnight, who was injured in the collision, has returned to work, Gordon said.

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  • wv gal Aug 12, 2010

    NC General Statue
    § 20‑145. When speed limit not applicable.

    The speed limitations set forth in this Article shall not apply to vehicles when operated with due regard for safety under the direction of the police in the chase or apprehension of violators of the law or of persons charged with or suspected of any such violation, nor to fire department or fire patrol vehicles when traveling in response to a fire alarm, nor to public or private ambulances and rescue squad emergency service vehicles when traveling in emergencies, nor to vehicles operated by county fire marshals and civil preparedness coordinators when traveling in the performances of their duties. This exemption shall not, however, protect the driver of any such vehicle from the consequence of a reckless disregard of the safety of others.

  • rickdog67 Aug 11, 2010

    At 120 mph, sirens on a vehicle do nothing but warn the people behind you. That speed is also too fast in my opinion to go through any highway other than maybe a multilane divided highway.

  • ForTheLoveOf Aug 10, 2010

    Yes, let's all blame the lack of sirens for the wreck...not the lack of seeing the lights...

    How many people here drive with the radio on, or talk to the passengers while driving? Ever had an emergency vehicle with their siren on sneak up on you while doing said activity? Bet you didn't hear it before you saw it. I know that's usually how it is with me, and I DO look for emergency lights. Tragic accident, but likely unavoidable even with siren on.

  • james27613 Aug 10, 2010

    The way the Honda was cut in half looks like the car
    could have been a salvaged vehicle.

  • james27613 Aug 10, 2010

    Ever get passed by the paramedic cars in wake county?

    they go so fast in a 45 zone up capital blvd
    with lights on but you can't hear the siren.

  • james27613 Aug 10, 2010

    Trooper was traveling almost the distance between
    TWO telephone poles every second!

    Trooper speed was not prudent for road conditions,
    120 mph on I-40 yes but not on a 55mph hwy two lane road.

  • TheAdmiral Aug 10, 2010

    So then, he went from 120 to 85 and then hit the lady.

    Hmmm...

  • hdwilson562 Aug 10, 2010

    Okay ...after WRAL was so kind enough to send me the link on this 431 page report on this accident (I was able to download and read over this report. And I must say I found it to be interesting reading not only for this accident, but also as a whole ingeneral for I'm assuming all accidents) So my conclusion is this..... Both parties were are fault to some degree, but most probably the lady for not listen to her grandson saying something about the blue lights that were coming. Though I do think the trooper (once he reached 80+ MPH) should have turned on both lights and SIRENS!!!! and once he reached 100+ and ANY intersection, he should have backed off AND called for assistance. Sheriffs, City PD's or other Troopers!!! He stated in his statement he was doing about 85 at the impact with the lady. I for one am very grateful for our troopers (those that act within the laws) that govern us all!!Nevertheless it is a tragic accident and my thoughts are with all parties!! But mainly for the Tro

  • silencedogood Aug 10, 2010

    Don’t allow chasing for anything,… and I mean absolutely nothing!

    No Speeders, Murderers or Murder Suspects, Bank Robbers or Robbery Suspects, Home Intruders, Child Molesters, Terrorist or Terrorist Suspects (after all, once criminals know all they have to do is make it to there vehicle and then they are home free). I don’t want any chasing at all (unless it was my home that was robbed or my family that was killed, molested or harmed and then I want you to chase them till the wheels fall of). I guess I want law enforcement officers to chase after all…. Think about it!

  • Mugu Aug 10, 2010

    There are no good troopers.

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