GURLEY, Ala. (WHNT) — The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) says that the findings of an investigation into a deadly crash involving a Gurley officer during a chase in July have been turned over to the Madison County District Attorney.
ALEA said Matthew Deandre’ Norwood, 22, of Toney, was pronounced dead after his vehicle was struck by the Ford Explorer driven by Christopher J. Whalen, a police officer with the Gurley Police Department, who was in pursuit of another vehicle. The Explorer was Whalen’s on-duty assigned patrol vehicle.
Authorities say Norwood was not involved in the chase and died from injuries sustained during the wreck near the intersection of Interstate 565 and Jordan Lane on July 21, 2023, around 11:45 p.m., according to ALEA.
The Madison County District Attorney confirmed on Friday they have received the file and are reviewing it.
Gurley Mayor Stan Simpson said that Gurley Police Chief J.C. Martin was heading up an internal investigation regarding Whalen’s involvement in the pursuit along with ALEA’s investigation of the incident.
The mayor confirmed to News 19 after the crash that Officer Whalen had been placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the internal investigation.
“A Gurley Police Department vehicle, unfortunately, collided with a vehicle driven by Mr. Norwood on Jordan Lane in Huntsville while officers from several jurisdictions, including Officer Chris Whalen of the Gurley Police Department, were involved in the pursuit of the driver of another vehicle,” Simpson said at the time.
Norwood was transported to Huntsville Hospital following the wreck, where he succumbed to injuries. Whalen was also transported to Huntsville Hospital to be treated for his injuries, but Simpson told News 19 he had been released from the hospital a couple of days after the crash.