A woman is dead following a collision with a North Carolina Highway Patrol vehicle. The Highway Patrol says that while the officer involved in the fatal accident was traveling above the speed limit, it insists that his speed was not a significant cause of the fatality.
An accident report reveals that the officer was traveling approximately 8 miles per hour over the speed limit. The crash occurred in a 45 miles per hour speed zone. According to police, the officer was traveling north on Highway 301 when a vehicle pulled out in front of him as it exited a restaurant parking lot. The officer was reportedly unable to avoid the vehicle and struck it, killing its driver. Reporters say two witnesses claim to have seen the officer attempt to avoid the collision.
Following the accident, the Highway Patrol released video footage from the dash cam mounted in the officer's car. It reportedly shows the deceased woman's car slowly crossing several lanes before being struck by the police cruiser. An officer with the Highway Patrol said the video would likely serve as sufficient evidence to prove that the officer could not have avoided the crash.
"Any time we have a speed of 53 in a 45, you know that is above the posted speed limit. However, I will say in this particular case here, the failing to yield was the contributing factor to this collision," explained the officer. He added that the victim should have come to a complete stop and allowed the officer to safely pass before pulling onto the highway. He said that "we would not even be talking about this today" had the woman properly yielded.
The officer has not been charged with speeding or any other offenses, though the Highway Patrol noted that its investigation is still ongoing.
Source: WTVD, "Highway Patrol says speed didn't cause fatal crash," Alina Machado, March 13, 2012
Additional Info: WCNC, "Video of fatal wreck involving state trooper released," March 12, 2012