MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - The name of the Memphis police officer involved in a deadly accident Sunday has been released. The Memphis Police Department says Officer Alex Beard was responding to an officer-needs-help call when his squad car crashed into a vehicle holding a family of four, killing two people inside.
Orange paint on the street at the intersection of Georgia Avenue and E H Crump Boulevard now marks the spot where the deadly accident happened.
"At this point it appears speed might have been a contributing factor to this accident," stated Memphis Police Director Toney Armstrong.
He didn't come out and say his police officer was to blame for that deadly crash, but Armstrong did say when it comes to vehicle safety, "This is something we reiterate almost on a daily basis, safety in automobiles… it's something we really, really push."
When Armstrong and Memphis Mayor A C Wharton were pushed for more information regarding the circumstances surrounding the crash, Wharton said, "It was supposed to be a day of joy; instead it turned into a day of tragedy for this family."
Witnesses said Officer Alex Beard was speeding when he crashed into a car that held a family of four from Senatobia, Mississippi who were in town celebrating a birthday. 54-year-old Delores Epps and 13-year-old Macayla Ross were killed.
According to Armstrong, Beard was responding to an officer-needs-assistance call. He says lights and sirens should have been on. People who saw the accident said Officer Beard didn't have his lights or his sirens on.
Armstrong says Officer Beard, who's recovering at home, has been suspended with pay. Beard has been with MPD since March 2011. Mayor Wharton has asked the Tennessee Highway Patrol to conduct an investigation into the accident.