Police stand by investigation that suggested Womble crossed center line
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — For the first time since the State Attorney General’s Office dropped charges against former N.C. House representative Larry Womble last month, Winston-Salem Police Chief Scott Cunningham says he stands by the original investigation which blamed Womble for crossing the center line and causing a fatal crash last December.
Rep. Womble was charged for his role in a fatal crash that killed David Allen Carmichael on Dec. 2, 2011, on Reynolds Park Road.
However, the charges were dropped last week after attorney David Freedman said a subsequent investigation, which included a computer accident reconstruction, revealed Carmichael was the one who crossed into Womble’s path.
Cunningham said in his monthly press conference Wednesday morning, “the initial investigation was not wrong. We stand by the investigation that we did. The investigation is a good, quality accurate investigation.”
Cunningham said someone conducting an accident reconstruction as part of a training class for department rookies came up with with another scenario for the crash showing Carmichael crossed the center line.
Cunningham said to help the Attorney General’s office prepare for court, the department told the state about the accident reconstruction. Upon further investigation, and with a computer scenario showing a different potential way the crash could have happened, the Attorney General’s office announced it would drop the charges against Womble saying it lacked evidence to “further prosecute” Womble.
Cunningham said he expected a computer expert to come up with other scenarios, however he did not expect those findings to change the status of Womble’s charges.
Cunningham added the original eyewitnesses never changed their story.
Cunningham says while he doesn’t have a problem with the Attorney General’s office dropping the charges and deciding it may be a tough case to fight in court, Cunningham says his officers, “demonstrated great competence, professionalism and the highest ethical standards that exist.”
The Department of Justice says prosecutors lacked evidence to “further prosecute” Womble.
Cunningham went on to say he wishes Womble a “full recovery” and said he is not asking for the case to be reopened.
Womble suffered extensive injuries from the December 2011 crash that killed 54-year-old David Allen Carmichael. Womble said he is still undergoing therapy and has not been able to walk since the accident. He also lost sight in one of his eyes.
Police said blood samples showed Carmichael had a blood-alcohol level of .29 at the time of the crash, but initially, it was not considered a factor.
Womble announced in February that he would not seek re-election. However, he has said he would be “working on issues and concerns when he can.”
Womble said he “is not giving up” and would not rule out running for a political seat in the future.
For the time being, Womble says his primary focus is recovery.