THP: Trooper deliberately drove past fatal wreck after chase by Matt Lakin
The trooper grabbed his gear and ran to the blazing car — not to save a life, but to put on a show.
“I got out and got my fire extinguisher just to make it look good,” Trooper Charles Van Morgan told Tennessee Highway Patrol investigators. “I knew he was dead, but you, you got to do that for the media and everyone else. I was just trying to put on a show.”
The wreck cost driver Gordon Kyle Anito his life, and the show could cost Morgan his job.
THP officials concluded Morgan deliberately drove past the Nov. 26 crash in North Knox County that killed Anito, 20, after a chase, didn’t stop to help and didn’t go back to the scene until another officer spotted the wrecked car in flames.
Anito’s parents filed a $10 million wrongful-death lawsuit against Morgan and the THP in federal court this week. THP officials moved to fire Morgan but initially wouldn’t turn over the paperwork.
Officials finally released to the media the letter recommending Morgan’s termination Wednesday night.
The letter reveals Morgan’s bosses found no fault in his chase of Anito, who Morgan had clocked driving south on Emory Road at nearly 80 mph in a 40 mph zone just before 3:30 a.m. But video from his cruiser shows Morgan driving past Anito’s 2005 Subaru Impreza crumpled against a tree in a well-lit spot fewer than 15 feet from the road.
That video and the trooper’s contradictory stories led the THP’s commander to leave Nashville and personally visit the crash scene.
“It is my determination that Trooper Morgan did indeed see the crash scene and chose to ignore it,” Col. Tracy Trott wrote.
Morgan couldn’t have saved Anito, who died “instantly,” Trott wrote. The trooper didn’t know that when he drove by in silence.
“I’ve lost sight of the vehicle,” Morgan radioed to dispatch. “I’m going to terminate (the chase).”
Smoke had already begun to billow from the wrecked car. Trott, who drove the same route three times at the same speed under the same conditions, concluded Morgan couldn’t possibly have missed such a sight.
Read entire article my Matt Lakin HERE.