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Family Remembers Victims Of Fatal Crash Involving Trooper

4:53 AM, May 25, 2010   |    comments
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Video: Family Remembers Victims In Trooper Involved Crash

Video: Family and friends hold vigil for crash victims

  • Sandy Allmond, left
  • Taylor Strange - Courtesy: First Pentecostal Church - HP
  • Trooper J.D. Goodnight
    

Guilford County, NC -- The investigation continues into a fatal wreck that claimed the life of a grandmother and an 11-year-old girl.

Around 11:45 am Sunday, a Honda Accord driving by Sandra Allmond, 55, was hit by a patrol car in the intersection of Business 85 and River Road. The patrol car, driven by trooper JD Goodnight, was in pursuit of a car he clocked going 80mph in a 55mph speed zone.

Trooper Greg Ingram tells WFMY News 2, Allmond was attempting to turn left in the intersection when her car was hit by Goodnight's vehicle. Witnesses told investigators Goodnight had a green traffic light at the intersection and he was using his blue lights.

Ingram says Goodnight hit his brakes and tried to avoid the wreck.

Allmond was pronounced dead at the scene. Three children in her car were taken to Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center.

One of those passengers, 11-year-old Taylor Strange, died at the hospital.  Allmond's 11-year-old grandson and 9-year-old Steven Strange, a family friend remain in the hospital in fair condition.

Family Remembers

Sandra's son, Gerald, spoke with WFMY News 2's Mac Ingraham at the crash scene.

He says his mother had just left church with her grandson Elijah and two of his friends.  She was taking the friends home when the accident happened.

Allmond visited the crash scene on Monday in an attempt to piece together how this crash could have happened.

"My mother had three babies in the car. She's very cautious. Seatbelts on. I don't see it." says Allmond.  "I don't see her pulling out in front of a car with sirens and lights going."

A memorial page was added to Allmond's church website with a message:

A wonderful person who always greeted others with loving arms, a cheerful personality and a humble spirit...We all love you and miss you dearly Sis. Sandy! 

All three of the children involved in the crash were students at Jamestown Elementary.  Lillian Govus with Guilford County Schools says all students were notified of the crash.  A Connect-Ed message was initiated and a letter was sent to parents.  The messages included resources for parents to talk to their children about grief.

Govus says a crisis team is at the school and will remain on the campus as long as needed.

Taylor Strange was a 5th grader at the school.  Elijah Allmond is also a 5th grader, and Steven Strange is a 4th grader.

Monday night, friends and family gathered at First Pentecostal Church in High Point for a candlelight vigil.

"Sunday morning, she was at the altar praying and then when she left here, that's when the accident had happened," said Amie Newton, a member of First Pentecostal Church.  "Anybody would love to be at the altar before they pass away."

Allmond's friend Laura Burney said, "She's just an awesome lady, she's just the sweetest person you could ever meet."

Crash Investigation

Captain Billy Clayton with the NC Highway Patrol says that Trooper J.D. Goodnight was not involved in a chase at the time of the crash.  He says that going after an alleged speeder Sunday morning was a safe decision.

Investigators say the alleged speeder was going 80mph when Goodnight made the decision to go after them.

"We didn't know what was gonna go on once we caught that car, it needed to be stopped," says Clayton.  "That violation could result, as ironic as it is to say, to more death and destruction down the road, which is why we take them so serious."

The investigation revealed that Trooper Goodnight had a green light at the intersection and that he hit the brakes and swerved.

Clayton points out that troopers like Goodnight go through extensive driving training and know when to not persue somone.  He says that heavy traffic, school zones, weather conditions can all play factors in the decision.  Clayton said those factors were not an issue Sunday morning.

Clayton also says there is no dash camera video of the crash. He says state troopers don't have the money to include them. Out of 27 patrol units, only 2 have dash cameras.

Trooper Goodnight suffered cuts and bruises in the crash.  He is on paid injury leave.

The driver of the Buick Skylark that Goodnight was trying to pull over still has not been caught.  Anyone with information on this car or driver should call Highway Patrol at 334-5500.

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