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FIRST ON 3: Video shows SUV, police car before crash

READ MORE: FIRST ON 3: Video shows SUV, police car before crash

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- It's been two days since a crash in Forest Hills killed three people. Now video has surfaced that shows the SUV seconds before it hit a tree.

The video shows the SUV speeding down Colonial Drive toward Forest Hills Drive. About ten seconds later a Wilmington Police car follows at about the same speed.

Click here to see video of SUV, police car

We showed the footage to private investigator Marc Benson, who has received training in accident reconstruction and speed measuring. By comparing the SUV to other cars in the surveillance footage, his opinion is that the SUV was going well over 60 miles per hour.

"If I was sitting off to the side and saw that car pass, I would say in excess of 70, 75 miles per hour," Benson said. "There's a slower car that appears to be going the speed limit, which would be 20 to 25 miles per hour. Next you will see a car accelerating through that same shot, and as that car accelerates through, you can tell it is going much faster than the speed limit."

Benson says with the SUV going that fast on a residential street, the crash could have had a deadlier outcome, especially if another car had turned into its path.

"This is not a highway speed or interstate speed environment," he said. "When you got people going though there at interstate speeds something bad is going to happen."

Police say an officer followed the SUV after seeing it driving with its lights off on Wrightsville Avenue. By the time the SUV passed the camera on Colonial Drive, though, its headlights appear to be on.

The one survivor of the crash, Demond Jones, was listed in fair condition at New Hanover Regional Medical Center Wednesday afternoon.

Disclaimer: Comments posted on this, or any story are opinions of those people posting them, and not the views or opinions of WWAY NewsChannel 3, its management or employees. You can view our comment policy here.





Dear Mr. or Mrs. Relative to two of the victims,

The only truth here is that SUV was traveling way too fast for that residential street. How come you can't come to this TRUTH? I am shocked at that finger pointing you show and lack of honesty in your post. WHO CARES IF THE LIGHTS WERE ON OR OFF!
The car was driven too fast for that street.
Answer me this just for everyone, WHY WAS HE DRIVING SO FAST?? If he had done nothing wrong then there is no need to speed.


Accept the blame and move on and honor the victims. Go to thier funerals, tell people about the dangers of speeding, most of all obey the law. Is this so freaking hard to understand?

Bravo! I live on this road.

Bravo! I live on this road. It's clearly marked 25 mph and has several LARGE speed bumps on it. God rest their souls and condolences to the families but there is always more as well as two sides to every story.

I hope the truth come out

I hope the truth come out also,, and we see just how truly screwed up you people are. Your all criminals for allowing your relatives to commit crimes and not raising them right. Sorry , the truth hurts.

another guest111

I comment on here all the time but this response is not from me. I hope you can tell the difference in language, writing and spelling. We don't need two guest111 commenting.

like are u really saying

like are u really saying this. raise your children right. that's sound so stupid. even if you raise your child the right way. when they get older and they choose they own path. then that's on them the path that the choose. people are just talking now to hear them self's talk. how you raise your kids. that is so funny. so you saying if one of your relatives commit a crime, and something happens that's you and your family fault for not raising the right. get out of here.

WWAY, if you dont follow up on the police officer story..

this right here tells you why we shouldnt hold police officers statements as the final word. WWAY, this calls for some serious questions to the police account of events. Thank god for the man who was taping at that point because these families would have gone on thinking their love ones was driving reckless.

who's fault?

80 miles an hour on a residencial street is careless and wreckless driving wheather a police car is behind them or not, how many times have you seen a police car turn around on a vehicle and wait to catch up with it before turnin on the blue lights and siren. Some people are thinking like the police made this young man drive that fast and wreck. This young man made his own choice and payed the consequences, its just a shame the young ladies didn't get the same choice. Just another case of inexperience and speed.

can you read

The report says the video shows a darkened street suddenly illuminated...meaning the driver of the vehicle initially had his lights off and then cut them on a few seconds before the crash. And I like how you completely dismiss the speed of the vehicle. At some point one would think you would get tired of trying to blame the police for everything

What report, WWAY or the WPD report?

because if you are saying WWAY stated that the street suddenly became illuminated with lights, I didnt see that in the video, in fact, I saw a car, yes going fast down a street with LIGHTS on. They didnt JUST come on, secondly if you are talking about the WPD report who has just been caught in untruths, then that report itself has to be fabricated. So, we now have to ask ourselves, remember the black kid that was blamed for the officer death with the box in the street, couldnt this same situation be turned around on the officer for the deaths of these three people? Whats good for the goose..

You sound like an idiot with

You sound like an idiot with your comment. First before any people make comments towards the police go study your general statutes, you know laws of this state, but you probably don't know what they are. Second if you think these four people that died were not doing anything stupid by driving that fast regardless if the lights were on or not, your an idiot. And, to the ignorant person that said why were the police chasing them, well because it's there job. You all sound like a bunch of idiots. Yes, it's sad people lost there lives, but if you want to put the blame on everyone but the people themselves that caused it, I'm sure you will continue to get rude remarks from people. And what happens if blood reports come back that say they were all drunk or high, you still going to blame everyone else? Stop acting like idiots.

WWAY, Don't you have a


Don't you have a moderator on this board who is aware of your own posting policies? Guest228 raises a very valid point, though with emotion, in a CIVIL manner.

Why do you allow for this poster to be referred to as an "idiot" in a subsequent post?

@ guest 228: Don't be

@ guest 228: Don't be stupid! Speeding through a residential neighborhood IS driving reckless!!

Wouldnt you be speeding too if an unmarked car was chasing u?

Remember, this was an unmarked vehicle that turned around on them? He didnt turn on his siren as he said so how were they to know he was the police?

The Star News stated that

The Star News stated that the car was a MARKED police car. The video shows that the police car was a good distance behind them. He may have been following, but he wasn't exactly chasing them.


It wasn't an unmarked police car - it was a regular WPD marked cruiser. He just didn't have his flashers & sirens on.

The video shows that the

The video shows that the officer was following at some distance behind the other vehicle. I don't think that classifies as the officer chasing him.

According to the local newspaper the police car was a marked car so your argument does not hold water.


I would not speed becuase a car turned around and started to follow me. First, most people can tell an unmarked police car anyway. Second, if that id happen , I would drive to a well lit area and i would not pull over or stop. I would not speed to try to get away. If it was that serious, I would have called 911 and asked for some help. I would have kept the safty of myself and my passengers in mind at every turn. The fact remains that the driver did speed and by doing so, he took his own life and the life of the others in his suv. He alone is at fault.

Don't jump to conclusions yet....

The driver could've turned his lights on after spotting the officer. The report does say that lights "suddenly appeared" as the camera filmed.

By the way, remember that speed in excess of 80mph was THE major contributing factor to the results of this tragic accident. 80mph in a 25mph zone will get ANYONE a reckless driving arrest, lights on or not!

The officer wasn't driving the SUV, remember?

Who said they were going 80 mph? Oh yeah, the WPD..

the same police department that lied about the headlights..come on! WAKE UP!!!!!!!!

The officer stated that when

The officer stated that when he passed the car the headlights were off and he turned around to follow the car. That does not mean that the driver never turned on his light. Why don't you do a thorough read of the information given instead of looking for excuses to jump to conclusions.

WWAY contacted an expert outside of the police department to look at the video to ascertain what the speed was. He said that the driver was going upwards of 70-75 mph. Us lay people watching the video can see that the driver was going quite a bit faster than the posted speed limit.

When you see an SUV folded up like that...

... a huge chunk of an oak tree missing and three poor dead souls that died instantly from impact, it makes it look like 80 mph is conservative. There's absolutely no need for lies about the rate of speed or driver accuracy. The apparent visual evidence is overwhelming here. Go back to your crack pipe and king cobra...

Now, once they get this SUV unfolded, search it thoroughly and perform toxin tests on the victims, we may just get to the root of the cause here. There's MORE to this story, you can bet on that!

Why don't you wake up?

Regardless of what happened; the driver killed two people and himself. That is the problem.

Wake UP???

Wake up? ReallY? The bottom line is these people were up to no good. The children left behind will probably be better off without them in their lives and maybe will learn something from this.

Don't drive 80mph through neighborhoods and don't hang out with convicted felons.


You're right about following

You're right about following up on police accounts, BUT, that video clearly shows they WERE driving recklessly, speeding pretty darn fast through a residential neighborhood

guest228 your an idiot.

guest228 your an idiot. Maybe their lights were off(cruising the neighborhood staking out what to steal) and when they saw the police car they turned them on. Plus dont you think crashing into a tree at a HIGH rate of speed on that residential street was not reckless driving. So one other thing, the news reported they had just picked up paychecks at McDonalds in....Leland. WTF were the doing cruising around on Colonial? Yeah, they were out just driving around? Not up to no good. No way.


The main focus here is these kids lost their lives. Some of these victims had children. Why would you say such things as they were scoping out what to steal. I think it is ignorant for individuals to be so cold hearted when families are grieving. PLEASE let these individuals rest. We need to pray for these children that no longer have their parents. One lady would work faithfully at McDonalds and loved her two children. I encountered her presence at work while dining there, she did what she had to do to support her children. Pray for the lost. Stop degrading them by making comments about what they were after to steal in this neighborhood. We all were young once and did some things that did not catch up with us. We learn most of the time from our mistakes or choices but God has his way of doing things. Yes they were speeding, I'm not making any excuses about that but they were young and this could have been anyone's young child. A parent may raise his or her child to their best ability but a child will make his or her own choices. So STOP PUTTING THEIR parents down about the way they have RAISED their children. WAKE UP and SHOW REMORSE. I"M PRAYING THAT EVERYONE FINDS Understanding and COME TOGETHER. MY HEART GOES out to these VICTIM's FAMILIES.

You can drive reckless with

You can drive reckless with or without your headlights on. Fact is, they were still driving too fast.


Did you not see how fast the SUV was traveling? Is it the police officer's fault they were driving that fast? I know my truck has daytime lights that I can't turn off but it can turn off the tail lights.
Point being, how in the world can you blame the police? If the SUV were traveling the speed limit this horrible accident would have never occurred.

You can't blame the police. Everything points to the driver. Sad,yes. Preventable, yes.

Sad to say this but we live in an acountability society where everyone wants to point fingers at everyone else and not themselves.

Keep in mind the driver

Keep in mind the driver could have put his lights on after passing the officer and seeing him turn around. I am the last person to defend the WPD as I have a letter in my possession in which an officer tried to run me off the road in 2008 and admitted to his Superior he was late for the gym! May the driver RIP but there has to be a reason he sped up after seeing the officer turn around. Maybe had too much to drink at Outback or should not have been driving for other reasons. Nothing can bring them back. Let them all be laid to rest without harsh judgement and serve as a reminder to all of us to wear out seatbelts!