Local News

Police Find Paratrooper Was Speeding Before Fatal Crash

Posted December 29, 2006 10:15 p.m. EST
Updated December 29, 2006 11:40 p.m. EST

A police report says a Fort Bragg soldier was driving about 60 mph when his SUV smashed into a car at a Fayetteville red light 1½ weeks ago, killing three people.

An accident report obtained by WRAL states Sgt. Clayton Morgan made no attempt to stop before his 2007 Nissan Pathfinder hit a Honda Accord on Dec. 18. The same report asserts that Morgan was driving 15 mph above the speed limit on North Reilly Road at the time of the collision.

Hyo Kyong Griffin, 48 and her 9-year-old son, Joshua, were killed. The force pushed part of their car into a Harley-Davidson carrying Tom Parent, who also died.

The report says there were no skid marks before impact and no signs that Morgan was influenced by drugs or alcohol. Police blame the crash on inattention to the road, but they note that Morgan was not talking on a cell phone.

Officers said they used a formula based on measurements of distance and time to calculate how fast the SUV was going on impact.

The 25-year-old paratrooper told WRAL by phone Friday afternoon: "Beyond what the police have to say, I can say that I do have remorse, and I am sorry for the tragedy that happened."

A memorial blossomed at the intersection of Reilly and Fillyaw roads on Friday. On occasion, people were seen walking among the wreaths, reflecting on what had happened there.

“When I came by, I decided to take some pictures and keep them for memories and stuff,” said Wilfrado Torres.

Torres never knew the crash victims. But he said he knows the intersection, and speeding through the area is common.

"They're zooming in and out of traffic, and people are trying to get to where they're going, but they're in an excessive hurry,” he said.

The memorial has grown in the days since the crash, with wreaths and flowers reflecting bright colors near the pavement. There were also messages of “I Love You” and “You Are My Sunshine.”