Trooper who missed body in towed car suspended
Posted April 22, 2013
Raleigh, N.C. — A State Highway Patrol trooper who didn't see a woman's body inside a wrecked car before he had it towed away last month has been suspended without pay, authorities said Monday.
Carolyn Ann Watkins' 2000 Pontiac Sunfire was found in a watery ditch, down a steep embankment off Swift Creek Road, about 4 miles southwest of Smithfield on March 29 and was towed to an impound lot, according to a report from the Highway Patrol.
Trooper Marlon Williams, who ordered the car towed, said "no driver (was) at the scene of this collision" in his report. However, Smithfield police found Watkins' body in the driver's seat three days later after family members reported her missing.
Pam Walker, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Public Safety, said Williams, a nine-year veteran of the Highway Patrol, has been suspended but provided no other details.
Walker and Johnston County District Attorney Susan Doyle said last week that he faces no criminal charges in the case.
A preliminary autopsy showed that Watkins, 62, suffered head and neck trauma and likely died in the crash.
Her family criticized Williams' actions, saying that she might have been saved if someone had seen her in the car before it was towed from the crash scene.