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Details, video footage released in fatal wreck
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Details, video footage released in fatal wreck
Woman died after pulling car in front of trooper's vehicle, witness speaks out




The N.C. Highway Patrol has released dashcam video and the collision report in a fatal wreck in Rocky Mount last week involving a Highway Patrol trooper.

Two witness statements indicated the trooper couldn’t have avoided the March 6 collision, which resulted in the death of a Rocky Mount woman, Maurilia Solis Leon, 59.

The incident occurred on U.S. 301 North at 11:05 p.m.

While the investigation hasn’t been concluded, Leon’s failure to yield the right of way has been noted as the reason for the fatal collision, officials said.

"If she had it would not have occurred,” said First Sgt. Jeff Gordon of the Highway Patrol.

The collision report did indicate the trooper, identified as A.S. Samuel, was exceeding the speed limit by driving 53 in a 45 mph zone. Gordon noted this is not saying it’s the reason for the collision.

The patrol vehicle was traveling north on U.S. 301, a multi-lane highway, officials said. A 2002 Dodge Stratus, driven by Leon, entered the roadway from the Golden Corral directly into the path of the trooper’s vehicle.

The video shows the Stratus slowing down almost to a stop and then moving very slowly. Samuel attempted to steer to the left to avoid colliding with the vehicle but struck the driver’s door, officials said.

While Leon died, the trooper sustained non-life threatening injuries. Both were transported to Nash General Hospital.

 

WITNESS INTERVIEW

Tiffany Blue won’t soon forget that night.

Blue, from Enfield, was traveling with relatives through that area and witnessed the wreck.

Blue said it appeared Leon was leaving work.

"There was no way he (Trooper Samuel) could have avoided it,” Blue said in an interview with The Wilson Times. "It just happened so fast.”

She said visibility wasn’t great in the area either.

"It was sitting there,” Blue said of Leon’s vehicle. "My cousin said, ‘Hurry, look, look, look.’”

Blue was about 6 to 8 feet away from the incident, she said.

"I guess she was trying to move up, but it happened too fast,” Blue said.

She said if the trooper had tried to avoid the wreck any further she fears she and her relatives could have been involved in the incident.

 

THE REPORT

The report says both drivers were wearing seat belts. Leon’s airbags did not deploy. Weather was not noted as a factor as the conditions were dry.

Samuel was placed on administrative duty by procedure as the investigation is conducted. As of Monday afternoon, he remained on administrative duty, Gordon said.

Gordon said officials are still looking into this wreck and the video and collision report are parts of the investigation.

But Gordon said the dashcam video corroborates that officials believe the wreck was unavoidable on the part of Samuel.

"We’re still reviewing the collision itself,” Gordon said.

The collision report says Leon’s car was traveling west from the Golden Corral, crossing the northbound lanes of U.S. 301.

Samuel’s vehicle was traveling north on U.S. 301. Leon’s car entered the roadway and pulled into the path of Samuel. Samuel swerved left to avoid Leon’s vehicle, the report said.

They collided in the northbound lane of U.S. 301.

After impact, Leon’s vehicle spun around in the roadway and came to rest facing east on U.S. 301. Samuel’s vehicle ran off the left side of the roadway into the median, where it came to rest facing north.

No charges have been filed, according to the report.
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LJohn said...

Also looks like the sound to the video has been intentionally muted or tuned off. Did the investigation determine if Samuel was distracted by phone, computer or other typed of distraction prior to the impact??? If the original video has sound, I sure would like to hear it.....

Saturday, March 24, 2012 at 12:44 PM
From experience said...

Having been involved in a similar wreck at that same intersection years ago (receiving end of the t-bone action), it can be a difficult place to navigate if you're coming from the Golden Corral parking lot, especially if you're trying to pull into the median area when another car is pulling into the turn lane from the other side of the road. Looking at the video, you'll see that there was another car trying to turn from the other side of the road, and both cars seemed unsure about where they needed to be, causing the woman to remain in the road and the eventual wreck. Most people traveling 301 south towards 64/Wilson and deciding to turn there, pull left into the median area immediately instead of pulling up further to the 'outside' part of the median/turn area (so that they can see oncoming traffic clearly should someone try to pull in and turn as well). It appears the momentary confusion played a large factor in this unfortunate accident, and my thoughts and prayers go out to all those involved.

Saturday, March 17, 2012 at 6:24 PM
Perspective said...

1. To WOW - thank you and I agree 100%. Don't call the cops if you think they are so horrible. They'd rather not be around your bad attitude anyway.
2. Just like anything in life people... unless you are directly involved, don't judge... just learn something and extend a little compassion because it's not YOU. Because you don't REALLY know anything.
3. Here's a lesson: The camera system in most patrol cars aren't always recording. They come on when triggered by certain events. When the officer turns on the blue lights, the camera automatically comes on and begins recording AND a sudden impact will activate the camera and begin the recording at the moment of IMPACT. The officer can also manually turn it on and begin recording. Now, another feature of SOME (not all) camera systems is that it is always secretly recording each second so that if the camera is activated by anything, it'll save the last secret 60 seconds or so and that will be added on to the recording so what happened before the activation can be viewed. During the "secret recording" it can't keep the audio files so the audio doesn't start until the camera is officially activated either by blue lights turned on, by vehicle IMPACT, or by the officer manually turning the camera on. THAT IS WHY YOU DON'T HEAR ANYTHING BEFORE IMPACT ON THIS VIDEO! The impact is what triggered the recording which is when the audio begins. But because of technology, we can view the video of the secret recording for a little bit prior to the incident. Just like when you do that "California Roll" mentioned below and then the officer turns on the lights and stops you... that's why your violation is caught on tape! HA!
4. Law Enforcement officers have computers in their cars for a reason. Most dispatch their officers via the radio and computer. The dispatcher gives the basics over the radio but there are more details added to the call notes on the computer. Also, officers use the computer to read about call histories at "hot" addresses to see who they will be dealing with so THEY WON'T GET KILLED when they get there. Officers are EXPECTED to monitor the computers, that's why agencies across the country and the world purchase them, train the officers on them and use them. So what if (and none of us know) Trooper Samuel was looking down at his computer and looked up and it was too late... he's EXPECTED to monitor his computer. Yes, there are certain things in life that officers are expected to do that no one else is allowed to do. Guess what? That's because they need to in order to provide the service they do. When I call 911 I expect that officer to get there immediately. If that mean's they need to go 8 over, fine. Everyone else needs to GET OUT OF THIER WAY and pay attention. Very few calls require lights and siren response... only life threatening calls which are very few in comparison to all the other BS calls cops have to go to. But you can believe, the caller that is asking for the cops doesn't care how small or petty the cop thinks the situation is... they want a cop and they want him now.
4. It does NOT matter what Trooper Samuel did or did not do. SHE WAS NOT SUPPOSED TO BE SITTING IN THE MIDDLE OF HIS LANE. She must yield the right of way to the traffic already on the road. He had the right of way - not her. Wherever she is now... she may be saying "OMG what did I do? I pulled out right in front of him!"
5. Trooper Samuel will FOREVER have those images in his mind. They will never go away. No cop - or civilian - should ever have to live with that. He did not do anything intentionally. 99% of cops are very soft hearted and sensitive when truly bad things happen... they aren't monsters... they are human beings with emotions and tears that have a very difficult job to do. And it's people like most of you on here that make things so difficult. YOU'D KNOW THIS IF YOU ACTUALLY KNEW THEM.
You have no right to pass judgement when you are not trained to do what they do. They don't go to Firestone and tell you how to make tires or run your equipment. They don't go your restaurant and tell you how to cook your food. They don't go where YOU are the expert and tell you how to do your job because that's not their expertise! Get it?? Don't act like you know how things in the world of Law Enforcement operate if you aren't an officer. All you need to do is extend some genuine compassion and pray for those involved, the witnesses that saw the incident and all of their families. This is a tragic situation for all those INVOLVED.

Saturday, March 17, 2012 at 9:14 AM
Reply to WOW said...

Amen! I used to work within the court system and you are correct that the court systems would be crammed! I myself don't think that if Samuel was going 45mph that he would have been able to avoided the victim. He will never forget this horrible accident and the pain he feels I couldn't imagine. I hate it for both families of those involved.

Friday, March 16, 2012 at 4:20 PM
WOW said...

He who has never driven faster than the posted speed limit cast the first stone?! I bet all of you are going to start bashing me now? Its all right do so if it makes you feel better. I have stopped many drivers for doing the "California Roll" at stop lights and stop signs. Their excuse is always, "I did come to complete stop". Yeah, right. I have them on video, and have at times showed the driver the video to prove to them that they were not completely stopped, and they still didn't believe that they had done anything wrong. If all officers of the law went by the letter rather then the spirit of the law when it comes to driving infractions, then the courts would be jammed packed with silly infractions and tickets. So once again if you have never committed a moving violation, driven faster than the posted speed limit, or performed a California Roll then by all means make a comment. I my self am not perfect both in my car or while at work, but I try to be fair while at work, NO ONE IS PERFECT. Sometimes you have some personal problems, or issues that are on your mind and you forget or just have a brain fart. Once again I try to be fair. Bash this man all you want thats your right. (please no civic lessons by the civic teacher on here)but the bottom line is both of these families are devestated. If you hate the Police so much then next time when you need help, call your local thug and see what happens. Thank you and good bye!

Friday, March 16, 2012 at 1:51 PM
FAIR FOR ALL said...

This accident is similar to the one that happened a few weeks ago on cary parkway. The driver turn accross the road in front of another car and was killed and the driver of the other car was charge with vehicualr manslaughter because she was speeding. They said she would never have hit the car if she was not speeding, samething here, the trooper would not hae hit the car if he was not speeding.

Thursday, March 15, 2012 at 11:33 AM Saddened said...

It hurts me to read these negative comments about someone you don't know and don't you think he will be haunted all the days of his life with this terrible accident. I agree with some of the others post that it wouldn't have mattered if he was going 45mph, he couldn't have avoided this vehicle just sitting in the roadway. My heart goes out to both families.

Thursday, March 15, 2012 at 11:32 AM to Amazing said...

I was stopped for 52 in a 45 in good old Holiser (nowhere)NC by a State Trooper. 15 miles over my tail. if you are a trooper, you guys might think you are being fair, but that's bologna. Let a girl start crying and she gets out of the same ticket. Let one person go into one county and things are different when they go through another county. I get Troopers passing me all the time going way over the speed limit with no lights. So you are using the cop out that just because little Johnny jumps off a bridge, then its right?? Grow up.

Thursday, March 15, 2012 at 9:45 AM Amazing said...

You people are amazing. Blaming the trooper when the lady was clearly failing to yield the right of way. 53 or 45 mph would NOT have made a difference. I've investigated too many wrecks and I'm telling you, there is no way! Above the law my tail. He didn't do anything everyone else here hasn't done and we don't even start stopping cars until 15 over. Go ahead and charge him, we will FILL the courts with tickets 5mph over and higher.

Thursday, March 15, 2012 at 10:29 PM NEVER HIT BRAKES said...

IVE LOOK AT THIS VIDEO SEVERAL TIMES STOPEPED IT ON 1.30 LOOK HOW FAR HE WAS AND THE CAR WAS ALREADY IN THE ROAD ..I DIDNT HEAR ANY TIRES SQUEAL OR NOTHING. BUT I DID HEAR HIM MOANING LIKE HE WAS HURT ... HE NEVER SAW THE CAR BEFORE IT WAS TO LATE. AND NEVER TOUCH THE BRAKES.. MY HEART STILL GOES OUT TO BOTH FAMILYS INVOLVED.....

Wednesday, March 14, 2012 at 8:23 PM Factual said...

If someone rear-ends another vehicle, the driver of the car that rear-ended the other one is automatically charged with the accident. The concept is the same in this case. Oh, except that it involves a highway patrolman.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012 at 5:35 PM Perspective said...

I am sorry for all parties involved in this accident. I know there are times when law enforcement personnel appear to act above the law and I don't agree with that. But after watching this video, I don't think the officer is as bad as people want to make him sound. This could have happened to any of us. In regards to some of the comments, he only passed one car and as far as sound, there is none heard until after the video goes dark. He may have slammed on brakes and we couldn't hear it. How many of us have gone down that same stretch of 301 and really stuck to the 45mph speed limit...we should think about that. Maybe the next time we are driving anywhere for that matter we should be more aware of our speed and the limits posted. Praying that God be with everyone affected by this accident.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012 at 10:44 PM Really?? said...

Typical people that want to find all the fault in a law enforcement officer. Ok 8 miles per hour over the speed limit or 8 miles per hour under the speed limit wouldn't have made much of a difference. I've looked at this video several times and didn't see the car until the last possible moment. I've showed this video to people who had no clue what they were looking at and they also stated they didn't see the car until it was to late. They only reason any of you are commenting on this story is because it involves a law enforcement officer, if it weren't for that you would not have taken the time to even give your regards to the Leon family. This is a tragic ACCIDENT, key word there.


Tuesday, March 13, 2012 at 6:31 PM The Truth said...

The Highway Patrol in this state is out of control, just the way it has been for a very long time. And then we have the gall to say other countries are corrupt.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012 at 5:10 PM rb said...

I think speed was an issue, he was speeding, wasnt on a call, If that would have been anyone else, they would be charged for speeding Im sure

Tuesday, March 13, 2012 at 4:55 PM said...

My heart goes out to the trooper and Ms. Leon's family. This was such a tragic accident. I had the chance to view the video. As one poster stated, it looked as though the trooper did not try to stop until the very last second. Was he reading a text? daydreaming? or messing with his computer? And Ms. Leon was at fault as well pulling out into traffic. What was she thinking? Either way my prayers are with all involved.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012 at 2:19 PM Concerned said...

After watching the video, I see no way this officer is not facing charges! First, he did not come to a complete stop at the red light, which, he would have pulled any other citizen for doing the same. And yes I know that did not cause the accident, but shows the fact these troopers believe they are above the law! Second, he was CLEARLY speeding, which, he would have pulled any other citizen for doing the same. Third, it appears in the video that Mrs. Leon, while she shouldnt have been, was just sitting there and doesnt appear that she just pulled in front of him. I have seen first hand, officers on the computers and not paying any attention to the road and almost running red lights, stop signs and almost causing accidents. I feel this incident is being brushed off because the person involved is a trooper and we all know they dont have the best track record in recent history. Prayers for the Leon family!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012 at 2:09 PM just asking said...

Iam very sorry for the Leon's Family. But the video shows the Trooper was going faster than the other trafic.Iam wondering if he was texting or on his on board computer he had to be doing something to not see a white car in the middle of the road broadside. And I agree with Pirate nation IT Does not look like he even hit his brakes. Looks to me he was not paying attention. And looked up and it was to late. So sorry for both parties. God bless the Leon family IN their loss and I hope the trooper is alright.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012 at 1:37 PM PirateNation said...

I have to agree with WC Parent. My first question - after looking at the video - was: why is he going so fast. Passing one care after another until the fatal wreck. From the video, I couldn't see flshing lights on the trooper's car either, even when passing another car, which should have - at the least - showed some sort of reflection as the trooper passed. Although there doesn't look like there was any sound until the trooper keyed his mic, it certain doesn't look as thought he applied his brakes. If he did, it was certainly at the very last second. Like WC Parent said, if it had been anyone else speeding when this wreck occured, it's for sure it would have been one of the big "contributing factors" in the cause. I too feel deeply for this family! My God bless them.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012 at 12:39 PM WC Parent said...

I feel very sadden for the family of Ms. Leon. But looking at this video, the trooper could have possibly avoided it. I did not hear the first squilling of a tire where he slammed on brakes. Second,he was going 8 miles over the speed limit and if that had been anyone else the story sure would not being read as it is now bc it was a state trooper. I am sure he is dealing with a lot due to the accident, but he SHOULDNT HAVE BEEN SPEEDING!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012 at 11:21 AM
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