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Speed a factor in trooper death
Nov 17, 2004 12:00 am
Witnesses say speed was a factor in a two-car crash which killed an off-duty state trooper and his passenger, though whether or not the accident was alcohol-related remains to be seen.
A Lebanon Police Department report filed Monday on the Nov. 2 accident listed five witnesses to the deadly crash, some of whom told officers the speed of the off-duty trooper's vehicle could have contributed to the wreck.
"From the witness statements, speed is probably going to be a contributing factor," Lebanon Police Chief Scott Bowen said.
The wreck killed off-duty Trooper Steven "Steve" Chapman, 50, of Lebanon, a member of Gov. Phil Bredesen's security detail, as well as passenger Lin Dell Poulson, 39, of Nashville. The driver of the second vehicle, Raymond E. Woodson of Lebanon, was seriously injured in the crash.
The accident report filed Monday by Sgt. K.D. Smith – who headed the investigation – basically confirms earlier theories about the crash, that Chapman was traveling south on Highway 109 when he attempted to pass another vehicle and struck the car driven by Woodson head-on.
Authorities have said the report will later be amended to include a reconstruction of the accident as well as blood alcohol tests performed on Chapman as part of an autopsy.
When asked if alcohol was found at the wreck site the police chief replied, "We don't want to discuss that at this point."
"It just wouldn't be appropriate to address that aspect of it until the autopsy results are back," he said.
According to Smith's report the initial collision sent Chapman's auto off the road and into a nearby retaining wall, throwing him from the vehicle.
The report listed five witnesses to the accident, only one a Wilson County resident.
"We feel like the basic facts are there," Bowen said. "Of course later we'll be adding the autopsy report and the reconstruction part of it, but it was a thorough investigation."
He called the wreck – which left Chapman's vehicle torn into two sections – "one of the worst accidents I've seen in the past 15 years."
Senior Staff Writer Brooks Franklin can be reached at 444-3952 ext. 14 or by e-mail at email@example.com.