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Raleigh police officer’s crash prompts internal RPD review

April 18, 2019 GMT

The Raleigh Police Department has launched an internal investigation into a wreck caused when a police officer lost control of his speeding police cruiser SUV as it was exiting Interstate 40 three days ago, authorities say.

The crash happened Monday night at exit 298 off I-40 East as Officer David Green was leaving the freeway to travel to South Saunders Street, according to the official police report of the incident.

The report said Green, who is assigned to the department’s Special Operations Division, was traveling 60 miles per hour in his patrol SUV when the vehicle slid off the exit ramp and rolled down an embankment, colliding with another car that was just getting on I-40.

That car was driven by Zachary Vazquez. Neither driver was hurt during the incident, nor were the two police K9s who were in the officer’s vehicle.

Ryan Fowler witnessed the incident, and told WRAL News the officer was driving fast and changing lanes quickly as his vehicle approached exit 298 B.

“I was going down 40 eastbound (and) I was going about 65,” Fowler said. “And he passed me.”

Fowler says seconds later, the officer’s vehicle skidded off the exit ramp and rolled down an embankment.

“As I was looking over my shoulder, he started flipping down the hill,” Fowler said. “It was obvious he was going too fast for the exit ramp.”

Fowler said he is amazed no one was hurt during the incident.

Fowler estimates Green may have been going as fast as 80 miles per hour, but the police report lists the officer’s speed around 60. A spokesperson for the department said that figure is preliminary and the incident is still under investigation.

Fowler said he called 911 immediately after he saw the crash and even turned around and went back to make sure help had arrived. He dispatch asked him if it was a police car, “And I said, yes,” Fowler said. “It said Raleigh PD on the side.”