Grandmother, child killed in trooper crash

Sandra Allmond of Thomasville (Photo courtesy First Pentecostal Church)

May 23, 2010 9:00:00 PM PDT
Authorities say a crash involving a NC Highway Patrol officer in Guilford County killed a child and a grandmother Sunday.

It happened just before noon Sunday in Jamestown.

Sandra Allmond, 55, died along with 11-year-old Taylor Strange. Allmond's grandson 11-year-old Elijah Allmond, and Taylor's cousin, 9-year-old Steven Strange remain hospitalized.

According to the Highway Patrol, Trooper J.D. Goodnight was traveling southbound on the Interstate 85 Business Loop when he clocked a vehicle traveling northbound at 80 mph in a 55 mph zone. He activated his blue lights and turned around headed north.

Investigators said Allmond was turning left at a green light at the River Road intersection. The Highway Patrol is trying to determine who's at fault, since they say Allmond turned in front of Goodnight and he T-boned her.

"My question is, how could the car be hit so hard that the front end comes off," Allmond's son Gerald Allmond said. "And is a hundred yards from the actual impact."

Investigators said the accident was not technically a chase because Goodnight had made a U-turn and was attempting to catch up with the car when the accident happened. They did not say how fast Goodnight was travelling.

The crash was so violent that the front end of Allmond's vehicle ended up on the other side of Business I-85 from where the collision occured. Allmond, of Thomasville, was pronounced dead at the scene.

"As a man, I've lost a mother, you can't replace that," Allmond said. "We've lost a child that was in my care and I can't fix that. That's hard. The family that lost that child, they lost their only daughter. How hard is that? And we're facing two babies in ICU right now. We want answers, I want an explanation. I want to know what's going on."

Goodnight was taken to the hospital with minor injuries. He is now out of the hospital on injured leave.

The suspect Goodnight was chasing got away. Troopers say they are looking for a Buick Skylark.

Friends and family describe Allmond as a simple woman who worked at Wal-Mart on South Main Street in High Point cleaning the floors.

"I'm really going to miss her," said fellow churchmember Jerry Woolard. "They should be more careful on chasing speeders like that, because it's not worth noboby's life, especially a dear lady like her and she will be missed I'm gonna miss her."

A prayer vigil was held for Allmond and Taylor strange at the first Pentecostal Church in Jamestown Monday night.

The First Pentecostal Church is accepting donations for the Allmond family. For more information, contact the church at (336) 884-5661 or Pastor Lark Lewis at (336) 561-7811.

Trooper Goodnight's record shows he has not been in a serious/fatal wreck in his 10 years with the Patrol.

The Highway Patrol defended what happened Monday.

"When things like this happen, it makes you sit back and think, but Trooper Goodnight was doing his job," offered Lt. Doug Monroe.

Still, the crash got the attention of Governor Beverly Perdue.

"I know accidents will happen, but I am absolutely adamant about reckless driving, about endangering the general public, about putting at risk a family like yesterday and I want the facts about what happened yesterday," she said.

A recent ABC11 investigation revealed the NC Highway Patrol averaged seven crashes a week in 2008-2009.

Click here to read more about that investigation.

The Highway Patrol points out that its officers log thousands of miles in their cars in all types of weather every year, so statistically, it's not surprising they have a large number of accidents.

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