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Video of Officer Matthews's fatal car crash

READ MORE: Video of Officer Matthews's fatal car crash
The video from the recently released dash cam of WPD Officer Richard Matthews’s patrol car shows how quickly things happened two weeks ago when his vehicle spun out of control. This is real time video as Matthews sped up on Shipyard to assist fellow officers in a drug chase. The box he tried to avoid comes up very quickly. He pulled hard to the left to avoid it and ended up in the trees. There is also video from an officer who was following shortly behind Matthews. She encounters the box and then turns left where she sees Officer Matthews’s car in the trees. These tapes will be part of the case prosecutors are building against the suspects in the case. The WPD released them now in response to a lawsuit filed by the Star News. Police Chief Ralph Evangelous sent a memo to department staff, and to the media. It reads, in part: "The Wilmington Police Department has a proven record of complying with requests for public information. We have gone above and beyond what the law requires by making incident and accident reports available online. We routinely release detailed information on high-profile incidents, sometimes even before local news organizations are aware that the incidents have occurred." "Ideally, the members of this Police Department would have more time to reach closure and begin the healing process before being subjected to constant replaying of videotapes from the events of February 18th. But we are releasing the tapes today to end the pointless controversy." WWAY received seven DVDs from the WPD. We chose to air a small fraction of the video available to us that we felt helped tell the story of Officer Matthews's response, and the events that led to his tragic death.

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.


Officers Vedio

Thank You tv ch. 14. You did not air the crash vedio saying, it would be in bad taste and disrectful to the officer and his family to do so. TEW/Retired LEO

Here's a thought....

many of our major intersections have traffic cams. Should we make it mandatory to view the scene of accidents occurring within? The taxpayers paid for those cameras as well. Did cameras capture the Eastwood/motorcycle/taxi accident? Did a camera catch what happen to the gentleman who went over the Snows Cut Bridge? Why was Richard Matthews accident sooo much more important? Was it because he was a LEO and his final moments were for all to know? I agree with the other guy within these responses, why did we not ever see the video of the accident involving a chase on Oleander? The man who lost his life (whether he was in the wrong or not) was still a human. Has his family seen the dashcam of the accident? If not I suggest they ask StarNews who their attorney is.

Give it some time

As a family member of a WPD officer could you people please give it some time?!?! The Chief said he would be more than happy to turn over the tapes but it's only been 2 weeks since Officer Matthews death. Did it really need to come to a lawsuit to see the videos. There are still a lot of people (family, officers, and non-officers)who are still very upset about his death. Please have some respect!! How would you feel if this was your loved one?

the family and friends

for me to say im sorry would nor help u or his family nor will it help the people in this world but to say that officer matthews will be deeply miss and for everybody to know no matter how or why it happened but t hat it did and now we must all move on with out his smile or his laugh i will miss him alot he was a great friend and a great listner who will be missed so everybody let go stop all the maddness whos the blame and lets just say we all are to blame we all make mistakes and the would of should of and could of doesnt change anything so why bother let that great man rest in peace we love and miss you

I think that the Star News

I think that the Star News and all the other news groups playing this video should be ashamed of what they are doing. I understand that it is there responsibility to report the news but this is getting carried away. Officer Matthews family and loved ones should not be forced to relive this tragic event just so the Star News can sell a few more papers or get a few more hits on their web site. The only reason that this wreck is on tape and that it is so called “Public Record” is because that Rich is a police officer, should his life be worth less and his family be made to feel the pain of that horrible knock at the door in the middle of the night just because Rich is a cop. I think we should all remember that THIS MAN, THIS HERO, AND MY BROTHER IN BLUE died protecting the men and women of this city. I remember about two years ago when the Wilmington Police Department was forced to shoot a man that was high and had taken another officers gun where was the Star News on that one. Well I guess that they have let all the Law Enforcement Officers know just where we stand BEHIND A CRACK HEAD WHO TRYS TO KILL A COP. And just remember you will need us long before we need you.

Taxpayers paid for the

Taxpayers paid for the camera, the car and the officer's funeral and the survivor benefits his family will receive. We have every right to know what happen. Knowing what happened in no way diminishes his honor nor the sum of his sacrifice. The media was absolutely correct and justified in showing the video.

reply to your comment

Your are wrong in what you have said. The only thing you are right about is that taxpayers money paid for it. And yes I am a taxpayer. I have a brother that is in law inforcement I would never want this video to be aired. We already knew what happened. They reported on the news exactly what happened so there was no need in having it aired.

they have every RIGHT to

they have every RIGHT to show the video but it is truly necessary or is it merely sensationalism? we were already told he swerved to avoid hitting a box so what did viewers gain from watching this video?

Public information???

Sure, taxpayers paid for it. So it should be released for all to see in the mainstream media? Did you learn something new about the tragedy that you didn't know before? OK, taxpayers also have a right to see the city's budget, but do you actually look at that? If so, you are probably one of the few. The only reason most people are looking at that video is MORBID curiosity, and the only reason the media aired this was for ratings.

Like this person just

Like this person just asked...did you actually learn anything new from watching the video? No, you didn't. And if the video was going to be released, why not just show what happened up until he tried to swerve away from the box? What is the point of showing his car in the trees?

I learned that he could have

I learned that he could have easily killed an innocent bystander. watching the video and focussing on it shows how this is possible.

Did you really need the

Did you really need the video to learn that....did the fact that he crossed over into the on-coming traffic not tell you that he could have killed an innocent bystander. If you really needed the video to tell you this, then you need some help

I am disgusted with our

I am disgusted with our local media (Star News,WECT and WWAY) To air these videos benefits no one, unless our local media is trying to boost their ratings with a tragedy, if so, SHAME ON YOU! I think the Station Managers and the Director of the Star News owes Rich's family an public apology for their poor taste and poor judgement. If you have any morals you would not air this video anymore and would take it off your websites NOW!

Our Media Outlets

I agree with this commentary I too am soooooo disgusted with ALL of our local media outlets. They have no feelings for anyone, or care how the famalies, and friends may feel. They absolutey have NO MORALS, and would do anything for ratings. You've lost my respect, and me as a reader, and viewer. Now report about that too!

Free country

None of you have to look at the video. I did just to see how big that box was he tried to avoid. Thank god there wasn't anyone coming in the other direction when he went over the median. Freedom of the press people. That is a right that I am sure none of you want taken away.

We all can learn from this

Yes it was horrible to see one of Wilmington's police officers die in a terrible accident, and yes it is just wrong for the news to force the tapes to be released. However if you watch the video maybe some of you can learn from this. Driving fast on a road and suddenly swerving to advoid an object in the road can lead to tragic consequences. It could happen to any one of us. It may not be better to plow right into the objects in front of us but better the danger you then the danger you don't.

Absolutely Shameful...

Regardless of what the law says about the 1st amendment and public right to such material, it is absolutely disgusting that the Star News would file a suit against the Department to release this video. It's also really sad, and very disturbing, that the printed details of the case were not enough for some blood-thirsty viewers that the media needed to go this far. Tally this, Star News and WWAY, you've lost another subscriber and viewer today. No video was needed to "help tell the story of Officer Matthews' response." Poor choice.

I agree that it was in

I agree that it was in horrible taste to air this video! You should be ashamed of yourselves! It benefits NO ONE to air these videos and tapes but it just brings back the horrible memory of a tragic loss! The family and the officer deserve more respect along with EVERY officer that puts their life on the line to defend and protect our community!

WECT, WWAY, and Starnews are

WECT, WWAY, and Starnews are out of control. I can't believe they went this far.


What is the point in the media FORCING these videos into their hands? Are you all that DESPERATE for a story? This is absolutely disrespectful to the family of Officer Matthews, the police department as well as those that knew him in the community. What is the reasoning behind airing this? There is NO solid reason. Yes, this is public record, but WHY air it? How would you media mongrels feel if someone aired your loved ones last moments, and how about if you were the first responder on the would you feel watching the most horrifying night of your life? Why can't people just let Officer Matthews rest in peace? Cancel your subscription to the Wilmington Star!!! They are the ones that forced their way into obtaining this material.

I was horrified to see that

I was horrified to see that WWAY decided to show the video of officer Matthews wreck. As the friend of someone who loved him I am saddened at the thought that my friend might have seen this video and that their pain may be increased by it. The showing of this video was not NEWS but a poor attempt to boost ratings. I believe you will find that this will backfire. In addition, I do not plan to purchase another issue of the STAR News because of their attempts to have this video released to the public.

Makes one wonder...

if WWAY or WECT will rush to the scene if one of their own tragically dies while on the job...all in the interest of professional journalism and reporting the news. Both stations should have politely declined to air the footage from the dashcam.

Dashcam important to public

This video of a fallen officer is important to the public for one reason, it is the evidence to the truth of what happened and in many cases, such as the officer shooting of a drug crazed naked man on Princess street a year or two ago that fought with another officer, took his gun, fired at the officer and was shot and killed as a result. The community almost rioted because of it. No video was shown to the public although one existed. Had this video been released the public would have seen the truth. Same with the shooting death of Peyton Strickland. Releasing the wreck of Officer Matthews is a step in the right direction, making the public aware of the truth. This was a freak accident. Many of you have said Matthews, or any officer responding to a call for help shouldn't drive fast. Remembering that officers go through training to become experts at driving fast. Some are as good as Jimmy Johnson or Richard Petty. If you see the video you will see that the speed he was driving, the conditions were unremarkable. You see the box, the size of it, and you see that the way the car struck the tree was right at the door. Had the car have hit the tree in any other way my friend Rich Matthews would have walked away from the crash. This is not something to hide. If you don't want to watch, don't watch it. But the next time you see a dashcam video, remember someone like the Star News more than likely had to fight for it. Personally it would have been nice to see the video of the sheriffs department chase that killed that guy around Christmas. Not to see a man die, but to see if the man was intentionally wrecked. And don't say its none of my business, or yours, transparency is part of the whole "freedom of the press" thing. Part of what makes this Country great.

Dashcam should not be a U-Tube video

I agree with you that government should be transparent. Video is important in controversial cases to determine that LEOs acted appropriately. But you will never convince me that the general public is watching this video just to be sure that Officer Matthews acted appropriately. This is pure sensationalism at its worst. And it's not always as easy as just "not watching the video." Last night I was watching the local news as I always do while cleaning up around the house, and next thing I knew, I walked in the room and there it was. Had I known, I would have changed the channel or left the room. It was a very short clip, but I felt physically ill. This video does nothing more than show everyone in the world the same things this brave officer saw just before he lost his life. How does the general public benefit from this? Was there anything on that video that hadn't already been reported? No. It's just that now it's out there in graphic detail. I can't imagine how his families -- both his blood family & his family in blue -- feel about this. It's only been two weeks, for crying out loud. Perhaps it could be used for LEO training purposes, as you mentioned, but again, you'll never convince me that this was anything but pure media sensationalism. I'm disgusted.

your just a bloomin

your just a bloomin want this can get the truth without having to see a video, wanna know the real truth get off your couch go to BLET and become a cop..put your life on the line...then you have the right to judge cops!!!!

Give this officer a break

I've was sworn in to be a law enforcement officer in 1992, I've served in Iraq, I've served you and all like you with a sense of duty and honor. I actually knew Rich Matthews, you didn't. I know why he was a cop, you don't. I've seen video of a firefight that took the life of my best friend while in Iraq. Every one of those videos of war and death involves someone's son, daughter, loved one. Ever think about those videos of people leaping to their death as the World Trade Center burned? Or wreckage left over from a plane crash? I personally don't agree with the video being show on tv, that's because I think it is in bad taste to do so. But I have defended the right to do so risking my life in the process. I hate any video of death. I've been there too many times and it brings it all back. But how can you say this one is off limits and others aren't? Don't you ever call me out again. You have no idea who you are dealing with or what my experience is woman.


BRAVO TO YOU GuestLeo !!! People don't appreciate law enforcement around here. All they do is gripe. If this was NOT available for viewing, they'd say the police were trying to hide something. I'm on Community Watch in my neighborhood, and my neighbors whine and gripe about everything, but they won't join up and they won't confront anyone. God bless you and all that you do. I, for one, say THANK YOU GUESTLEO.

What you don't understand is

What you don't understand is that the Chief was willing to release the video, he just didn't want to do it so close to the death. He wanted everyone to have a chance to grieve..and I agree with him. And if this video was so important to everyone, why wasn't the video of McKiver (I think that was the name) ever released to the public?

Horribly Tasteless

The only shocking thing regarding this "story" is the fact that it is a story. The airing of this video, and the 911 tapes for that matter, is nothing more than a shameless search for ratings. Personally, I am disgusted with the actions of our local media outlets... especially the Star-News.

Shame on the Red Star-News...

for forcing the issue of releasing the dashcam video of Officer Matthews crash. This liberal rag has nothing more to do than continue the anguish of his fellow officers. Thank goodness I no longer subscribe to the paper.