Local/State

Crash report shows trooper went airborne

Friday, December 02, 2011

The North Carolina Highway Patrol released its report on a collision involving one of its officers Thursday.

The crash Nov. 26 in Durham sent three people to the hospital, including the state trooper.

According to investigators, Trooper David Haithcock was on his way to assist another officer who was pursuing a suspected drunk driver.

The report shows Haithcock was travelling at 70 mph westbound on Interstate 85 with the lights and siren activated on his unmarked cruiser. Haithcock exited I-85 at North Duke St. and drove onto the shoulder to avoid traffic that was stopped at the light at the end of the exit.

Click here to read the report (.pdf)

Investigators said Haithcock lost control, hit a traffic light control box and a ditch before his car went airborne. It travelled across six lanes of Duke Street before hitting a car driven by 63-year-old Alice Fae Mullis.

Mullis's son told ABC11 after the accident that she suffered a broken hip and pelvis in the crash. Mullis's sister suffered less serious injuries. Trooper Haithock was treated and released from the hospital.

North Carolina Highway Patrol Sgt. Jeff Gordon called the accident regrettable and said the Highway Patrol has reached out to the Mullis family.

He said officers have to balance the danger of speeding with the potential danger someone else may pose to the public.

"We are in emergency traffic mode. We are trying to help out a situation where someone is trying to cause greater harm to the motoring public. So in those instances, you have to exceed the posted speed limit," he explained.

Gordon said the last thing any officer wants is to be involved in a crash.

"Unfortunately he did speed and lose control of the car and hit another car. It is regrettable, but we do what we're trained to do, and that's help people in need," said Gordon.

The Mullis family said it's considering taking legal action over the accident.

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durham county, accident, nc highway patrol, local/state
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