Huntsville Police Department officer was speeding before hitting pedestrian

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- WHNT News 19 has obtained the accident report from a wreck involving a Huntsville police officer that left a pedestrian dead.

The report says the officer was driving above the speed limit last week when he struck and killed a pedestrian who was trying to cross Memorial Parkway near Oakwood Avenue.

Huntsville Police Department spokesman Lt. Stacy Bates said the officer was headed to work in his patrol car for his 10:30 p.m. shift, when he struck Canisha Staten at 10:17 p.m.

Staten died the next morning.

Bates said the accident review is done, but an internal investigation is ongoing.

George Flowers, a well-known Huntsville attorney who handles traffic cases, said he expects a thorough investigation.

“My sincere hope is this officer actually gets treated just like any other citizen,” Flowers said.

The accident report indicates that the driver’s view and Staten’s view appeared to have been blocked by another car in the right lane, before she was struck in the left lane. The report says the officer was traveling 63 miles an hour. The speed limit is 50 miles an hour.

“One of the biggest factors that comes into play as far as a criminal case goes, is what’s known as causation,” Flowers said. “The fact that someone may have been speeding a little bit, if a person is in the road, the causation there is going to be a big, would be a very substantial defense in that case.”

Flowers summed up “causation” in simple terms.

“Would this accident have occurred, regardless?”

Bates said Huntsville police cars have cameras that are triggered in a collision.

Given the available evidence, Flowers doesn’t expect the officer to be charged in Staten’s death.

“If he is treated like any other citizen in the same circumstance I would probably be surprised if charges were brought,” Flowers said.

Bates said Monday the officer remains on administrative leave until further notice.