Report: Wake Deputy Going Double Speed Limit Before Wreck
Posted January 14, 2008 1:45 p.m. EST
Updated January 14, 2008 11:25 p.m. EST
Raleigh, N.C. — 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.