A family from Senatobia, Mississippi saw what should have been a joyous weekend come to a tragic end when the MPD squad car driven by Officer Alex Beard collided with the their Ford killing 54-year-old Delores Epps and 13-year-old Makayla Ross.
"Your heart goes out to the family, I can't even begin to imagine what they must be going through. As the director I am going to always ask my department to continue to pray for their family and ask the city to do the same," said Memphis Police Director Toney Armstrong.
Mayor A C Wharton echoed the sentiment, "We mourn with them and we pray with them as they mourn the loss of two family members including 13-year-old McKayla."
The wreck has sparked an internal investigation, and Mayor Wharton has asked the Tennessee Highway Patrol to lead an independent investigation into the accident.
Witnesses say the officer was driving at a high rate of speed and did not have his lights or siren on at the time of the crash.
Director Armstrong says Officer Beard was responding to a call for back up.
Mayor Wharton is now beefing up his efforts to put GPS technology in squad cars that would let the department know where officers are at all times, and would activate cameras when a certain speed is reached.
"If it's happening, we can stop it with technology, if it is not happening, we can confirm that it is not happening with technology. When it comes to your police department when it is a question of trust or accountability, I don't know if there is a dollar price that can be labeled as excessive," said Wharton.
Wharton plans on going to the City Council asking for the funds to install the technology. He expects the council to be on board.
City Councilman Myron Lowery says, "Technology will increase safety not only for the general public but for our police officers as well. GPS technology used along with cameras inside of cars that go above a certain speed will protect everyone."
WHBQ-TV | Fox 13
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