Not long ago we highlighted a story concerning a Knoxville, Tennessee, police officer who drove past a fiery wreck that claimed the life of one man. Now, prosecutors in Knox County have dismissed pending cases against nearly 100 people. The charges in all cases that were handled by the at-fault officer have been dropped. According to an updated news report, the officer still faces a lawsuit on behalf of the car accident victim’s family.
The officer, who had long been heralded as having made the most drunk driving arrests in Knoxville for years, has been fired from the police force. The ex-officer had said that he lost sight of the victim’s car while in pursuit, however video evidence proved that he had actually slowed down to pass the car after it hit a tree and burst into flames — but he didn’t stop. After hearing a dispatch report, he returned to the scene of the car accident and sprayed the vehicle with his fire extinguisher “to make it look good.”
According to an assistant district attorney general, the officer’s “actions were so egregious as to completely destroy his credibility.” He was dismissed on the grounds of neglect of duty and conduct unbecoming of a trooper.
The officer is not currently facing criminal charges, but is party to the $10 million wrongful death lawsuit that has been filed against him and the Tennessee Highway Patrol. The ex-officer’s poor decision has not only impacted the family of the victim in the aforementioned car accident, but also those who may have been victimized by other alleged criminals. Since nearly 100 cases will go unprosecuted, there is a chance that justice will never be served for a number of victims.
Source: The Republic, “Knox County prosecutors drop nearly 100 cases involving fired Highway Patrol trooper,” Feb. 18, 2012