NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A Tennessee Highway Patrol sergeant has resigned rather than be fired after an investigation revealed misconduct that included having sex while on duty.
The THP announced Wednesday that 45-year-old James Sells resigned following an internal affairs investigation that also found he misused state property and equipment and was negligent in performing his duties.
Sells worked in the criminal investigations division in Cookeville.
It’s one of several recent misconduct incidents involving the THP.
A Cookeville-based trooper fired in June was later indicted on drunken driving and weapons charges, while two colleagues were disciplined for not reporting the incident.
A Bradley County trooper is charged in the accidental shooting death of his 3-year-old granddaughter.
A former Pickett County trooper pleaded guilty in July to having sex with a minor.
Gov. Bill Haslam Wednesday stopped at the University of Tennessee Medical Center to visit a critically injured state trooper and pass on his well wishes to gathered relatives and law enforcement officers, reports the News Sentinel.
Haslam was in Knoxville for the dedication of an electrical engineering and computer sciences building at the University of Tennessee. During that visit, he mentioned his plans to visit Tennessee Highway Patrol Sgt. Lowell Russell.
Haslam has spent time with Russell in the past. When a U.S. Marine who Russell helped raise was killed last year in Afghanistan, Haslam attended the marine’s funeral.
Russell, who was working the overnight shift, suffered numerous injuries in the crash about 2:50 a.m. Tuesday on Interstate 40 near Walker Spring Road. Trucker Eric D. Lewis, 32, of Orlando, Fla., is in jail on charges of aggravated assault and reckless endangerment. His bond is set at $10,500.
The Tennessee Highway Patrol trooper fired for driving past a fatal wreck lost his first bid to save his job Tuesday, reports Matt Lakin.
Safety Commissioner Bill Gibbons turned down Trooper Charles Van Morgan’s appeal, calling Morgan’s behavior “a poor representation” of the agency.
“We have a responsibility to serve the state of Tennessee with professionalism, honesty and integrity, and we will not tolerate the actions of those who fail to do so,” Gibbons said.
Morgan had worked for nine years for the state Department of Safety and drew an annual salary of $49,344. He lost his job after internal investigators determined he slowed down but didn’t stop when he drove by the Nov. 26 wreck on Andersonville Pike in North Knox County that killed Gordon Kyle Anito, 20.
Morgan had been chasing Anito after clocking him driving nearly 80 mph in a 40 mph zone on Emory Road just before 3:30 a.m. Tests for drugs and alcohol on Anito aren’t complete.
Video from Morgan’s cruiser showed he slowed to nearly 20 mph as he passed Anito’s 2005 Subaru Impreza, which had run off the road and hit a tree head-on. He told dispatchers he’d lost the car, drove another half-mile down the road and sat parked for nearly five minutes before he returned to a car in flames.
LEXINGTON — A state trooper who was shot and wounded Wednesday night on Interstate 40 in Henderson County returned fire, killing the man who shot him, according to the Jackson Sun.
Trooper Dwayne Stanford, 27, was taken to Jackson-Madison County General Hospital and was in stable condition, said Department of Safety spokeswoman Dalya Qualls. His injuries were described as not life-threatening.
Authorities said Stanford was shot in the chest. He was wearing a bulletproof vest, which seems to have prevented more serious injuries.
The incident started when Stanford pulled over a car on Interstate 40 westbound near mile marker 115 because the car fit the description of one police were looking for.
Stanford arrested the woman who was driving the car and placed her in custody inside his cruiser, authorities said. A man who was a passenger in the woman’s car then got out and began shooting. Stanford returned fire, killing the man.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessee Highway Patrol is recruiting applicants for trooper jobs.
All applications are online through the Tennessee Department of Human Resources.
Applicants must be U.S. citizens, at least 21 years old and have at least a high school education. Applications are being accepted until Aug. 26.
The beginning salary is $2,500 per month for cadets and $2,767 per month once commissioned. The cadet class lasts 18 weeks.
State officials say troopers with 10 years’ experience can earn more than $49,000 per year under the current pay structure.