Report: Trooper going 120 mph before fatal Guilford wreck
Posted May 27, 2010 11:42 a.m. EDT
Updated May 27, 2010 6:39 p.m. EDT
Greensboro, N.C. — 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.
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.