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More details in the chase involving Officer Matthews

READ MORE: More details in the chase involving Officer Matthews
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A brief filed by the district attorney's office outlines the morning of February 18th. It all started around 1:00 a.m., Wilmington Police Corporal Will Richards and his trainee Officer Schwartz were patrolling the area around South College Road. Corporal Richards used to be in the Narcotics Division, but at the time of the incident, he supervised late Officer Rich Matthews’ platoon. At 1:15 a.m., Richards and Schwartz saw an SUV on South College. Their lights and sirens went on immediately, as they attempted to stop the SUV for speeding. Inside the car were three people: the driver, Anthony Pierce, Eric Smith, and Matthew Hendy - both passengers. All three are convicted felons. Pierce spent ten years in prison in Pennsylvania for armed robbery. Smith served two years in federal prison on drug charges, and faced a number of drug charges within the state of NC. Matthew Hendy was convicted of trafficking cocaine earlier in the month. The SUV pulled over by Long Leaf Hills, or so Corporal Richards thought. Once he started getting out of his car, the SUV took off. This is where the chase began. According to a legal brief filed by the DA’s office, not only was the SUV speeding and driving through stop signs, but bags of marijuana were being thrown from car windows on both the passenger and driver's sides. That was when Corporal Richards called for backup. Officer Matthews responded. Officer Matthews and Officer Allison Jahreis had been parked on Carolina Beach Road at the time of the call. They immediately threw on their lights and sirens and headed toward Long Leaf Hills; Matthews was leading the way. His top speed along College Road is reported at 102 mph. A speed, fellow officers say, is allowed on a stretch of road like Shipyard Boulevard, with little road traffic at that time of night. Because convicted felons were leading the chase, and according to police, in possession of drugs, that type of pursuit is considered acceptable. According to the prosecution's brief, the marijuana all three suspects were throwing out of the window had been stolen from other drug dealers earlier that night. Given Corporal Richards’ background in narcotics, he knew this was a dangerous situation. In his experience, drug dealers are almost always armed. It turned out, these suspects were. Someone reported finding a .40 caliber handgun near the Senior Center on South College Road the following day. The gun was allegedly thrown from the vehicle at one point during the chase and it was fully loaded. As Officer Matthews was traveling down Shipyard, toward South College, at about 100 mph, he saw a cardboard box in the road. The box had nothing to do with the suspects; they were never driving along Shipyard Blvd. at any point in the night. Matthews swerved to avoid the box, and his car turned left, straight into a set of trees, killing him. Anthony Pierce is now being charged with the second degree murder. This based on the theory that if Pierce had only stopped for Coporal Richards when he tried to pull him over the first time, Richards would never have called for back-up, and Officer Matthews would not have been speeding down Shipyard to help. Because Pierce was a convicted felon, and was no stranger to breaking the law, District Attorney Ben David argues Pierce was aware that by continuing to flee, he was putting everyone involved in a potentially life threatening situation. “It's important to send this message to anyone who would flee from officers. If a death results, in the course of that pursuit, they will be held responsible to the fullest extent of the law," said David. Chase Policy According to state law and the Wilmington Police Department's policy, officers can exceed the speed limit if they are pursuing a vehicle and/or person that is a danger to the community at that time, or in an emergency situation. That being said, any officer who engages in a pursuit or chase must have their lights and sirens on to warn other drivers where they are. Since Officer Matthews was located fairly close to where Corporal Richards was chasing the suspects, Matthews was called as immediate backup.

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ARREST OF DRUG RUNNERS

Let me start by saying my prayers go out to the Matthews family.I have a huge problem with this whole thing.I went back to court in Jan.09 for probation violation but yet I went to my appts., paid my fines on time, didn't get in any trouble,passed all drug screens and even did a year of intense with NO PROBLEMS.Because i had a probation officer that told me in the start she would have me in jail within a year and she had it out for me(always her word against mine). I was placed on a year of house arrest.I'm a mother of two and have been clean for sometime and why i get this for the life of me i can't figure it out. These guys are out running the streets still dealing drugs and killing people and i'm the one on house arrest.My faith is gone

Police chase.

Sorry for the family of the officer who crashed his car and died. I still don't think the men in the car fleeing from the police are responsible for the officer's death though. The men breaking the law were going 65 miles an hour while not stopping for the officer pursuieng them. The officer killed was going over 100 miles per hour, the box he swerved to avoid was on a street the offenders hadn't been on according to the news. It wasn't necessary for him to be going over 100 miles per hour and his swerving to avoid the box had nothing to do with the chase of the offenders. So what now? Anyone breaking the law in anyway will be charged with murder if an officer wrecks his car and dies? Like I said, sorry the officer is dead but I think it is wrong to charge the people with murder.

Police chase

Looks like it is back to the pen for all 3 for a long time. Whatever the charges are they are going away for breaking the law, many laws. See ya later potato heads.

thats stupid of you to call

thats stupid of you to call them that! grow up loser! and i know one of them and they are smater than you will ever be or hope to be! just wrong place at the worng time! if you don't know the truth as i do then keep your mouth shut!

Hopefully anyone breaking

Hopefully anyone breaking the law in anyway that results in an officers death will be charged with murder and punished to the FULL extent of the law. If that CRIMINAL had not been breaking the law, the officer never would have died. Why is that so hard for people to understand? People who BREAK THE LAW should be held accountable for their actions, not just for the law that they INTENDED to break, but for ALL crimes commited. Maybe then some of the crime in this town would cease. I am so sick of people sticking up for criminals and having sympathy for them. Criminals knowingly do illegal things of their own free will, why stand up for them? No one makes them do these things, and having the slightest bit of sympathy for them when they get caught and punished is absolutely ridiculous. --proud to be an officer's wife--

Standing up for the Law, not the criminal

My concern here isn't for the criminals as much as it is for the establishment of law and the equity in its application. I admit, I won't lose a lot of sleep with these guys off the streets, but the circumstances here bother me. Officer Matthew's death was an accident; a horrible, tragic and senseless accident. Sure, it was set into motion by these thugs actions, but they didn't place the box in the road. The part of me that wants justice for Matthews says that these jerks have it coming. But there is another part of me that wonders if this precedent will be applied fairly next time around. I haven't much faith in that, I'm afraid.

but the question is when you

but the question is when you know one of them and what amazing father and friend they are you hate that this has happened to them! wrong place at the worng time people make mistakes thats how you learn form them! don't be so quik to judge the book by his cover!

An amazing person..ahh yes.

An amazing person..ahh yes. I guess you "accidentally" skimmed over the parts where they took off a high speed, and were throwing drugs out the car on their way. How about the fact they they were convicted felons, and so NONE of them, by law, should be driving around with a gun. Thankfully it was the RIGHT place, RIGHT time, because the police were there to stop them. I THANK THEM for getting these criminals off our streets, away from our children. My thoughts go out to the family of brave Officer Matthews,who tried to do his job, and protect the lives of his fellow police men.

Wow

Amen, that was very well put!! I must say that captures this whole situation very well. Thanks

FELONY MURDER LAW

The punk was charged with 2nd Degree Murder, it should be Felony Murder, all three of them should have been charged with it. The DA blew it. These guys, all three of them, were involved in the commission of a felony when Officer Matthews died. SUBCHAPTER III. OFFENSES AGAINST THE PERSON Homicide § 14-17. Murder in the first and second degree defined; punishment. A murder which shall be perpetrated by means of poison, lying in wait, imprisonment, starving, torture, or by any other kind of willful, deliberate, and premeditated killing, or which shall be committed in the perpetration or attempted perpetration of any arson, rape or a sex offense, robbery, kidnapping, burglary, or other felony committed or attempted with the use of a deadly weapon shall be deemed to be murder in the first degree, a Class A felony, and any person who commits such murder shall be punished with death or imprisonment in the State's prison for life without parole as the court shall determine pursuant to G.S. 15A-2000, except that any such person who was under 17 years of age at the time of the murder shall be punished with imprisonment in the State's prison for life without parole. Provided, however, any person under the age of 17 who commits murder in the first degree while serving a prison sentence imposed for a prior murder or while on escape from a prison sentence imposed for a prior murder shall be punished with death or imprisonment in the State's prison for life without parole as the court shall determine pursuant to G.S. 15A-2000. All other kinds of murder, including that which shall be proximately caused by the unlawful distribution of opium or any synthetic or natural salt, compound, derivative, or preparation of opium, or cocaine or other substance described in G.S. 90-90(1)d., when the ingestion of such substance causes the death of the user, shall be deemed murder in the second degree, and any person who commits such murder shall be punished as a Class B2 felon. (1893, cc. 85, 281; Rev., s. 3631; C.S., s. 4200; 1949, c. 299, s. 1; 1973, c. 1201, s. 1; 1977, c. 406, s. 1; 1979, c. 682, s. 6; 1979, c. 760, s. 5; 1979, 2nd Sess., c. 1251, ss. 1, 2; 1981, c. 662, s. 1; 1987, c. 693; 1989, c. 694; 1993, c. 539, s. 112; 1994, Ex. Sess., c. 21, s. 1; c. 22, s. 4; c. 24, s. 14(c); 1997-456, s. 27.)

About time someone posted

About time someone posted the law!! again The LAW that is. Now can this man and his family,friends, and Brother and sisters in blue can heal and move on. I mean really. There you have it in back and white, and the number to look it up. Here is the site to look up the general statute NC General statute

"I would Know"

Police chase

The box in the road... Yes he tried to avoid it but the car being chased should have pulled over from the get go. They caused the crime and the accident to happen. God Bless Matthews family coworkers and friends. What a sad event.

A fine line with two sides

If this guy would have pulled over when the lights and siren came on, would officer Matthews still have tried to get to that scene with the same urgency? Probably. These convicted felons made the choice to run to avoid being busted again and an officer died responding to their ongoing (running) criminal behavior. They should be charged with manslaughter IMO. Had they pulled over and surrendered, and officer Matthews still wrecked and died, then no. (Innocent until proven guilty) If nothing else, use this time to make a law or clarify to anyone that makes the conscious decision to run away from LEO, that they will be charged with manslaughter should ANYONE die as a result of or related to THEIR criminal actions. It may already be a law, I don't know and I think that's the rub on both sides. My prayers and thoughts are with this officers family and friends.

questions?

first it is a terrible thing that has happened and my heart does go out to the parents of this YOUNG man! now i dont know what happened because i was not there. so dont get mad im just asking questions. if he was sitting at shipyard blvd and carolina beach, he was about 3.5 miles from s college rd. was he indeed the closes officer, and was anyone else, other than officer richards involved in the final stop the suv last but not least i am 44 and damn lucky to be here. i have done some very stupid things with cars in my youth. PLEASE ALL OFFICERS, the big fords and mussle cars, are not built for handling or stoping at high speeds. they are built to go fast in a straight line. i dont care what class you have been too, or how long you have been driving these cars. please i know it is important to catch bad guys. but your lives are important too. 70 is fast enough.

Ohh 70 is fast enough haha

Ohh 70 is fast enough haha thats funny real funny. So if your in a high speed chase and the bad guy is going 100 miles an hour the cops should just let him go cause 70 is fast enough. How many people on I40 are going over 70 on any given day. I mean give me a break you would probably be one of the people knocking the police if they hadn't caught these "punk thugs." And why is he only being charged with 2nd degree murder. Isnt felony murder the same as 1st degree, and what he was commiting is a felony right?

70 is fast enough when the

70 is fast enough when the "bad guy" in your so called high speed chase is only going 65. The officer was reckless and luckily didn't kill anyone else on his way there. It was a tragedy but not a one of those boys should have been charged with his murder because he wanted to go 100mph to catch up to a chase already in progress.

yes 70 is enough

does the police have more than 1 car on duty at a time? do they have radios? dont at least new hanover have a helocopter? one officer is DEAD and lucky no one else is. do yo not get it this cars cant be steered or stop with any degree of safty at 100 mph. are you saying you would perfer a officer to risk his life others at all cost. why not just start shooting in a crowd. yes i the bad guys caught. but not at this risk.

Yes Officer Matthews paid

Yes Officer Matthews paid the ultimate sacrifice to PROTECT the public you me and our family and friends. Everyday a police officer puts on that badge they are risking their lives that’s the job that the brave men and women of law enforcement signed up for. I would prefer to live in a community where we don’t have punk drug dealers running the streets. Where police officers doing their jobs don’t die, because of criminals and their actions. But that won’t happen in my lifetime or yours. A police officer doesn’t get to choose what happens that day that they get involved in. What if there was a gun battle in your neighborhood and the responding officers decided they didn’t want to run the risk of being shot so instead they sat in their cars while you and your family were in danger.

The next time that you are

The next time that you are in trouble, needing assistance from the police or any other emergency vehicle I am sure you will feel differently. It is the job of law enforcement officers to save lives... this requires them to act quickly. If you were in a wreck or your life was in danger I am sure you would want them to exceed the speed limit, throw on the blue lights, and put their lives in danger for you. And they willingly do this everyday of their lives. It is a complete disgrace that people are questioning this HERO after his death. He died trying to protect your community, have a little bit of respect.

are you saying

i am sorry that you do not understand what i was saying. so i will say it another way. to all officer run as fast as you like. but just so you will know. the crown vic and other cars like them are like putting a loaded gun to you head and pulling the trigger at 100 mhp or better. i am sorry if this makes any mad but it is the truth.

Officer Matthews

My thoughts and prayers go out to Officer Matthews' families and friends. I pray for all of the Wilmington Officers, SWAT, and all personnel who do an outstanding job to protect the people of New Hanover County NC.

Justice and Truth

There seemed to be some story telling going, if we are to believe the tale, as it is told here: "At 1:15 a.m., Richards and Schwartz saw an SUV on South College. Their lights and sirens went on immediately, as they attempted to stop the SUV for speeding. Inside the car were three people: the driver, Anthony Pierce, Eric Smith, and Matthew Hendy - both passengers. All three are convicted felons. Pierce spent ten years in prison in Pennsylvania for armed robbery. Smith served two years in federal prison on drug charges, and faced a number of drug charges within the state of NC. Matthew Hendy was convicted of trafficking cocaine earlier in the month." How would they know who was driving the vehicle and who were passenger's at this time, since the officers had not stopped the vehicle yet....? "The SUV pulled over by Long Leaf Hills, or so Corporal Richards thought. Once he started getting out of his car, the SUV took off. This is where the chase began.According to a legal brief filed by the DA’s office, not only was the SUV speeding and driving through stop signs, but bags of marijuana were being thrown from car windows on both the passenger and driver's sides. That was when Corporal Richards called for backup." How could the officers determine that the occupants of the fleeing vehicle were throwing out bags of marijuana... ? "Officer Matthews and Officer Allison Jahreis had been parked on Carolina Beach Road at the time of the call. They immediately threw on their lights and sirens and headed toward Long Leaf Hills; Matthews was leading the way. His top speed along College Road is reported at 102 mph. A speed, fellow officers say, is allowed on a stretch of road like Shipyard Boulevard, with little road traffic at that time of night. Because convicted felons were leading the chase, and according to police, in possession of drugs, that type of pursuit is considered acceptable. According to the prosecution's brief, the marijuana all three suspects were throwing out of the window had been stolen from other drug dealers earlier that night." Again, how did the officers know who was driving the vehicle, who were passenger's at this time, and in possession of drugs, since the officers had not stopped the vehicle yet....? Without acceptable answers to these questions, "that type of pursuit is considered acceptable," is not a true statement and Officer Matthews' actions and subsequent death are not the extended responsibility of the driver of the vehicle. Without some additional information to support this allegations, this statement is supposition on the part of the prosecutor and not established fact. "Given Corporal Richards’ background in narcotics, he knew this was a dangerous situation. In his experience, drug dealers are almost always armed. It turned out, these suspects were. Someone reported finding a .40 caliber handgun near the Senior Center on South College Road the following day. The gun was allegedly thrown from the vehicle at one point during the chase and it was fully loaded." Corp. Richards' supposition is a valid and wise in such situations; however it was a supposition and can only be alleged till positive proof can be established. "As Officer Matthews was traveling down Shipyard, toward South College, at about 100 mph, he saw a cardboard box in the road. The box had nothing to do with the suspects; they were never driving along Shipyard Blvd. at any point in the night. Matthews swerved to avoid the box, and his car turned left, straight into a set of trees, killing him." We will never what flashed through Officer Matthews mind when served to avoid the box, however that action cost him his life... Tragic and untimely, but it is a loose thread and a slippery slope to stretch the law to fit the facts of this case. As a taxpayer and citizen, I sincerely hope the court case will be prepared with justice in mind, and not just a PR statement to set the facts to the prosecution's case. The accused deserve justice just as we all do, and it appears from the legitimate allegations that they will receive lengthy time to consider their actions. However, no stretch of the truth or the law will bring the young Officer Matthews back.

FIRST

I am all for frying these guys...BUT NOT FOR MURDER of any officer. The box, NOW we find, wasn't put in the road by the suspects. The box was there, Officer Matthews died as a result of his own driving error. ONE-HUNDRED TWO? At that speed you have ZERO chances of mitigating any obstacle in the roadway. Luckily it was a cardboard box and not a drunk stumbling across the road. I'm sorry, but these guys have ZERO culpability for this officers death...by the way this is being handled...next time I'm stopped and another officer is called, if he gets killed in a wreck its MY FAULT...Like I said, I HATE scumbags like these guys and I don't think they need to see the light of day...but I don't think they are guilty of murder.

That is for the courts to

That is for the courts to decide, not you.

Ok...these guys are a

Ok...these guys are a somewhat culpable. If they had stopped, there would have been no need for a chase for Officer Matthews to be involved in.

Not if you pull over

No, you will not be charged provided you stop when you see the blue lights and hear the siren. Otherwise you are fleeing and attempting to elude the officer. Just as pierce decided not to stop, you have the same choice to make and possibly face the same repercussions for your actions.

All

I am saying is that by this rational...I get pulled over A-LA WB gestapo style for speeding...an officer on the other side of WB responds...runs over a tack, skids into the water and drowns...I AM NOW RESPONSIBLE... Officer Matthews DIED FROM HIS OWN DRIVING ERROR...PERIOD..I understand the whole if they hadn't been doing this or that argument...what if Officer Matthews hit a kid running across the road while he was doing 102 MPH...WHOS fault is it then?

Again, no

No, if you have pulled over and are not running from the police it wouldn't be your fault. Now you are being silly, what "kid" is out crossing Shipyard at 1am? The point is stop for the police and make it easier on yourself. Be a man/woman and take the ticket or arrest.

OK

WHAT IF SOMEONE...ran across the road in front of the officer doing 102 MPH...and he KILLED THEM...whos responsible then?

can nit pick

We can nit pick this all day long. Is the person crossing the street in a cross walk? Are pedestrians required to yield to police running lights and siren such as cars are supposed to?