Decision on whether to fire trooper after chase death due

Decision on whether to fire trooper after chase death due in 10 days

Posted:
Trooper Charles Morgan (source: Tennessee Department of Safety) Trooper Charles Morgan (source: Tennessee Department of Safety)

By JESSA LEWIS
6 News Reporter

NASHVILLE (WATE) - A hearing Thursday for Tennessee Highway Patrol Trooper Charles Morgan ended with a recommendation for his termination.

The family of Gordon Kyle Anito, 20, who died after a high speed chase by Trooper Morgan and a fiery crash into a tree in Knox County in November 2011, are suing the THP.

Dash cam video from the trooper's cruiser shows the chase and crash. It begins with the trooper chasing a speeding car down Emory Road. The car sped away and eventually crashed into a tree.

The video shows Trooper Morgan slow down, then continue past the scene of the wreck. He said over his radio he was terminating the chase. The trooper stopped his cruiser and waited several minutes before driving back to the burning wreckage and spraying it with a fire extinguisher.

The hearing for Trooper Morgan lasted only 15 minutes, but he had time to give his own evidence.

"The testimony that he gave was that he slowed his car partially due to road conditions and that ultimately he did not recognize the vehicle as the one he pursued," Morgan's attorney said.

He also said he'd never seen any official documents about this quote from Morgan. "I was just trying to put on a show so they'd think, you know, that you know, but he's all, and his body was burned, and like, he was."

"I have not seen that statement. I have not seen the transcript, and I have not heard that from the Department of Safety," Morgan's attorney said.

Marcos Garza is representing the Anito family. He says Thursday's testimony didn't match up with what Morgan said in the past.

"I do feel that some of the things he said are inconsistent with prior statements and the video evidence, and it appears to me that THP may agree that his statements may be inconsistent with actual evidence out there," Garza said.

However, Morgan's attorney insists this case will make it to a judge. "Ultimately, we'll have a hearing before a judge. It's at that point that I think we'll be in a position to understand exactly what the department believes Trooper Morgan did wrong with any specificity."

Morgan can appeal the official decision if it does not go in his favor. He can appeal three times before the case can be taken to court.

Morgan's attorney says they intend to appeal the case if the recommendation for termination is upheld.

Safety Department Commissioner Bill Gibbons will determine whether to uphold the recommendation to fire Trooper Morgan. The decision is expected within 10 business days.

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