MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - No sirens. No lights. Two people dead. That’s how witnesses described the outcome of a crash involving a Memphis police car.
It happened Sunday, August 26, and according to those witnesses the police car was traveling at a very high speed.
54-year-old Delores Epps and 13-year-old Macayla Ross of Senatobia were killed in that crash. Two other civilians and the police officer driving the squad car were injured.
Witnesses believe the police were at fault and the police weren’t talking.
One thing was certain: the outcome was tragic.
“Unfortunately it’s the nature of the job we do,” said Mike Williams of the Memphis Police Association.
No doubt, that is of little comfort to the victims of the crash at Crump and Walnut.
“We saw the officer coming entirely too fast,” Justin Vinson told abc24.com. Vinson saw the crash happen.
“The police didn’t have their sirens on,” said another crash witness, Antonio Parker. “There were no lights on.”
“Bystanders make decisions based upon things they are not fully aware of,” said Williams, “they don’t know what type of call it was.”
Considering what happened, they may not care.
“I don’t think police should be traveling at high speeds unless they have their lights on,” noted Memphis resident Kevin Nowlin.
“If we have to follow the rules and regulations of driving safety in Tennessee,” said Deborah Armour of Memphis, “then the police should have to follow them, too,”
When it comes to the rules of high-speed driving by police, “Protocol is lights and sirens,” said Williams, adding that there is no speed beyond which police are not supposed to go. “It is situation driven,” Williams told abc24.com, “so, no.”
“If you’re speeding at 100 miles an hour, you can’t stop,” said Parker of the police car in the accident.
So high speed driving by police appears to be governed by ‘on the scene’ judgment.
“Now, we can observe the speed limit,” said Williams, “but that means we’re not going to catch a lot of the individuals that we catch.”
Based on the outcome of this crash, that would probably be okay with most people.
As of August 27, Michael Ross, the father of 13-year-old Macayla, was still listed in critical condition at The MED; police have not identified the fourth civilian victim or the officer involved.
Williams did say he was recuperating at the hospital.
The Memphis Police Department was not talking.