RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — A Raleigh police officer was transporting two K-9 officers Monday night when he lost control of his SUV patrol vehicle on an Interstate 40 east exit ramp, rolled down an embankment and hit another vehicle, a wreck report shows.
A witness says the officer was driving at an excessive speed in the movements before the crash happened.
Officer David Green was taking exit 298-B off I-40 east around 9:15 p.m. Monday when the crash occurred, the report says.
Raleigh police say Green was not on an emergency call when the accident happened.
Witness Ryan Fowler says he knew when the officer’s cruiser passed him the officer was not going to make it down the exit ramp successfully because of the cruiser’s speed.
“He had to be doing at least 80 miles an hour,” says Fowler. “I mean I was doing 65 and he blew right past me.”
The official police report estimates the officer’s cruiser speed at 60 miles an hour.
“I was watching him and I saw him start tumbling down the hill when he went right on that ramp,” said Fowler. “He started rolling.”
According to the investigating officer, Green lost control of his cruiser and ran off the roadway overturning on the hill.
His vehicle righted itself and struck a second vehicle which was on the ramp heading to Interstate 40 eastbound.
There are warning signs in the approach to that ramp about how it is a dangerous turn and on the ramp itself the exit speed is posted 25 miles an hour.
Raleigh police policy obtained by CBS 17 says employees involved in traffic crashes may be required to consent to an alcohol and controlled substance test.
Investigative reporter Steve Sbraccia asked Raleigh police if that test was conducted, but have yet to hear back.
The policy also says all officers must drive in a safe, lawful and conscientious fashion.
Fowler says he hopes police officers are held to that standard.
“I don’t think it was OK for police to be driving extremely fast like that,” he said. “It was reckless.”
According to the police report, two K-9’s were in the vehicle at the time. CBS 17 is still waiting on an update on their conditions.
While the condition of the K-9s, Lucy and Hugo, was not listed, the accident report says each sustained $1,000 in damage.
CBS 17 has also asked the police department how it determined the officer’s speed was 60 miles an hour.
“The 60mph determination is an initial estimation only. This is an on-going investigation and the estimated speed could change based on all the collected evidence,” Raleigh police spokeswoman Donna-maria Harris said in an email.
We do know the officer suffered only minor injuries and the driver of the other vehicle was not injured.