WAAY 31 I-TEAM: Investigation still open months after deadly crash involving Madison police officer

The officer's name has not yet been released.

Posted: Sep 30, 2019 5:41 PM
Updated: Sep 30, 2019 7:51 PM

The WAAY 31 I-TEAM has learned more about a deadly crash investigators say was caused by an off-duty Madison police officer.

More than three months after the crash killed 92-year-old Phyllis Pine, we know one investigation is still ongoing and every other hasn't even started.

The WAAY 31 I-TEAM discovered the officer is still at home recovering from his injuries. 

The initial crash report shows the Madison police officer, whose name has not yet been released, was trying to avoid rear-ending two cars that were either stopped or moving slowly on Wall Triana Highway. We learned the officer swerved into oncoming traffic and hit a car head-on.

We took the community's questions to investigators to find out if and when charges could be filed. 

Some family members and friends of 92-year-old Phyllis Pine are growing restless, three months after her death and a report blaming the crash on an off-duty Madison police officer. Huntsville police told the WAAY 31 I-TEAM that investigators need more time.

Investigators say they're waiting on reports from the Department of Forensic Science, a department the state repeatedly cited for lengthy delays and back-ups. It means the case is still weeks away from reaching the Madison County District Attorney's Office.

Assistant District Attorney Shauna Barnett vowed the officer won't be getting special treatment.

"We're going to handle it just like every other case, that it didn't involve a police officer, just like we normally would," Barnett said.

Madison Police Chief Dave Jernigan wouldn't go on camera but said his department's internal investigation into the crash won't start until the officer whose name nobody will give out is back on duty. Just like the D.A.'s office, he's also waiting on a final report from Huntsville police.

Even though the initial crash report blames the off-duty officer, we're still working to learn if he was speeding or using a cell phone when the wreck happened.

Barnett handles the majority of the traffic homicide cases and said not all crashes involving a death are criminal.

"The Traffic Homicide Unit is investigating. They are doing it like they would any other investigation, which is to be thorough investigation, getting all the data they can," Barnett said. "We have a whole civil side of the justice system. That's what deals with the money damages and the loss of life, a loss of income, all that type of thing. Some of those don't meet the threshold for criminal charges."

Barnett explained they take circumstances surrounding the crash into consideration when deciding if a driver should face criminal charges.

"Ninety-nine point nine percent of wrecks of any kind are caused by operator error on somebody's part. Somebody's following too close. Somebody is not yielding the right of way. Somebody is speeding, and there is a difference in speeding 5, 10, 15 mph, and 50 miles an hour over or some egregious speed," Barnett said.

Prosecutors won't get the case until they know that information. We checked court records and at this time, no civil lawsuit has been filed by Pine's family against either the City of Madison or the Madison Police Department after the wreck. 

The Madison County Commission is working with the Alabama Department of Transportation on improvements along the road in the area

Plans include widening the shoulder and adding a dedicated turn lane for southbound drivers who want to turn left onto McCrary Road. The commission said a start date on the project has not yet been determined.

Huntsville
Clear
50° wxIcon
Hi: 69° Lo: 47°
Feels Like: 50°
Florence
Clear
52° wxIcon
Hi: 68° Lo: 51°
Feels Like: 52°
Fayetteville
Clear
49° wxIcon
Hi: 67° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: 49°
Decatur
Clear
50° wxIcon
Hi: 70° Lo: 47°
Feels Like: 50°
Scottsboro
Broken Clouds
50° wxIcon
Hi: 66° Lo: 49°
Feels Like: 50°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 136549

Reported Deaths: 2378
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson19833350
Mobile13471292
Montgomery8865184
Tuscaloosa8744118
Madison797878
Shelby604349
Lee594560
Baldwin558850
Marshall396743
Calhoun354844
Etowah354045
Morgan332728
Houston293521
Elmore269148
DeKalb243521
St. Clair234036
Walker233084
Talladega217729
Limestone213520
Cullman191120
Dallas179326
Franklin179029
Autauga178525
Russell17653
Lauderdale174033
Colbert167526
Blount161815
Escambia161424
Chilton159330
Jackson158911
Covington140327
Dale139944
Coffee13656
Pike120510
Chambers117242
Tallapoosa116685
Clarke110416
Marion97129
Butler91439
Barbour8867
Winston74512
Marengo72620
Pickens66814
Randolph66013
Bibb65710
Lowndes65727
Hale64928
Geneva6384
Lawrence62823
Cherokee61413
Bullock60714
Clay5928
Monroe5908
Washington56113
Crenshaw54232
Perry5426
Conecuh53711
Wilcox53211
Henry5085
Macon48318
Fayette4678
Sumter43819
Cleburne3895
Lamar3772
Choctaw35112
Greene30315
Coosa1723
Out of AL00
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 193732

Reported Deaths: 2389
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Shelby31034460
Davidson26685307
Hamilton956495
Knox955080
Rutherford940890
Williamson534136
Sumner488398
Wilson353845
Putnam335541
Montgomery312344
Unassigned30476
Out of TN299727
Bradley296717
Madison294364
Sevier264715
Blount254824
Maury242024
Washington233736
Robertson223135
Sullivan222033
Hamblen194326
Tipton183619
Gibson171323
Trousdale16687
Hardeman158326
Wayne15025
Dyer140314
Bedford137017
Dickson127715
Coffee125513
Cumberland121718
Weakley121219
Fayette120619
Anderson120213
Obion120011
Henderson119124
Loudon11906
Carter117928
Greene116644
McMinn115025
Jefferson113414
Warren10787
Lawrence107713
Macon106821
Monroe105818
Hardin105216
Lauderdale99516
Haywood99221
Franklin98910
Lake9252
McNairy91818
Roane9096
Carroll90520
Bledsoe8624
Rhea85013
White8499
Hawkins82318
Cheatham81910
Marshall7805
Overton7666
Cocke75310
Smith73411
Johnson7292
Chester64610
Giles63717
Henry6289
Lincoln6281
Hickman5998
DeKalb57214
Crockett54419
Marion5388
Decatur5317
Fentress5273
Campbell4564
Claiborne4425
Polk40610
Grainger3863
Union3712
Benton3399
Jackson3325
Morgan3213
Grundy3126
Cannon2950
Unicoi2881
Humphreys2633
Sequatchie2421
Clay2345
Houston2283
Meigs2283
Stewart2192
Scott2182
Lewis2071
Moore1801
Van Buren1660
Perry1530
Pickett1232
Hancock1073

Community Events