KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The Knoxville Police Department officer who was behind the wheel of a police cruiser when he collided with another car and killed the other driver while responding to a burglary on Aug. 13, 2021 has resigned, the department announced Wednesday.
The officer, who was identified as Cody Klingmann, tendered his resignation amid an ongoing KPD Internal Affairs Unit investigation and it was accepted Tuesday by KPD acting police chief Mark Fortner. Klingmann had been with KPD since April 2020 and was reassigned from his patrol duties in August 2021 pending the conclusion of the internal investigation after the fatal crash.
“I am leaving to pursue other opportunities that have become available,” Klingmann wrote in his resignation letter. “I appreciate my time with the Knoxville Police Department and have the utmost respect for this Department and my fellow officers.”
While Klingmann was not facing any criminal prosecution from the Knox County District Attorney General’s Office, he was still under the IUA investigation, which has not been closed, according to KPD.
“At the time of his resignation, a pre-disciplinary hearing was scheduled based on the findings of the IAU investigation,” KPD communications manager Scott Erland stated in a media release. “The IAU case has not been officially closed, but it is nearing that point and the file will be made available for public release at that time.”
On Aug. 13, 2021, around 3 a.m., responding officers to a reported in-progress burglary at a business in the 4800 block of Kingston Pike were traveling eastbound when a passenger vehicle pulled onto Kingston Pike in front of a KPD cruiser near Cheshire Drive, and a collision occurred.
According to the Tennessee Highway Patrol, Mauricio Luna, 27, had been attempting a left turn from Cheshire Drive on Kingston Pike. Klingmann was traveling eastbound when he struck the 2015 Honda Accord driven by Luna as it came into the path of his cruiser. Luna died as a result of his injuries.
The initial report from THP states Luna was wearing a seat belt and Klingmann was not. According to KPD, Klingmann suffered minor injuries.
Luna’s family filed a civil wrongful death lawsuit in March against Klingmann and the City of Knoxville seeking $3 million in damages. The lawsuit alleges Klingmann drove his patrol vehicle up to speeds of 90 mph down Kingston Pike without properly activating the emergency lights and that Klingmann was negligent while operating the patrol vehicle.