Dept. of Safety upholds termination of highway patrol trooper

Department of Safety upholds termination of highway patrol trooper

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

NASHVILLE (WATE) - The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security has upheld a recommendation to terminate Tennessee Highway Patrolman Charles Morgan after his actions in a Knox County chase death.

The department did an internal investigation into Morgan's actions after the crash on November 26, 2011.

The family of Gordon Kyle Anito, 20, who died after the chase and a fiery crash into a tree are suing the THP.

Morgan was served with a minimum due process letter for termination on January 30 and attended a discussion in Nashville on February 9.

Investigators said following the chase, Trooper Morgan failed to stop and give aid when Anito's car crashed on Andersonville Pike.

At 3:32 a.m. on November 26, Trooper Morgan was in pursuit of Anito in a 2005 Subaru Impreza when his in-car video showed he came up on the crashed car, slowed down and did not stop.

Morgan drove past the car, terminated his pursuit and then pulled over.

Investigators and department officials found no fault with the pursuit itself, saying it complied with department policy.

It was Trooper Morgan's actions afterward that led to his dismissal.

"Trooper Charles Van Morgan's conduct in the early morning hours of November 26, 2011 was a poor representation of the honorable men and women who serve on the Tennessee Highway Patrol," said Department of Safety Commissioner Bill Gibbons in a press release.

"The colonel of the Tennessee Highway Patrol and the deputy commissioner both went to the scene and drove the same route in similar conditions. Trooper Morgan's actions after the pursuit resulted in recommending his termination," Gibbons added.

"We have a responsibility to serve the state of Tennessee with professionalism, honesty, and integrity, and we will not tolerate the actions of those who fail to do so," he concluded.

The ruling to uphold Morgan's termination is based upon violations of Department of Human Resources and Department of Safety and Homeland Security rules and policies, including conduct unbecoming, neglect of duty and unsatisfactory job performance.

Trooper Morgan's termination is effective at the close of business on February 20. He's entitled to appeal the department's decision.

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