Unanswered questions still surround fatal wreck involving bystander, Gurley Police Officer

WAFF 48's D'Quan Lee reporting
Published: Jul. 26, 2023 at 8:44 PM CDT

HOLLYWOOD, Ala. (WAFF) - WAFF 48 News is on your side and continuing to ask questions about a police pursuit that started in Hollywood, Alabama and ended in a deadly crash 50 miles away in Huntsville.

22-year-old Matthew Norwood was killed and 31-year-old Gurley Police Officer Christopher Whalen was taken to the hospital.

Since the accident not much information was released but WAFF 48 News was able to sit down with Hollywood Chief of Police Travis Stephens.

Stephens was not able to provide every detail such as how and why the chase happened but he was able to confirm that the driver pulled into the Hollywood Town Hall parking lot to “make contact” with Hollywood officers, right before the chase.

In total, this police chase covered almost 50 miles and according to dispatch calls that night, speeds reached as high as 128 miles per hour after entering Madison County. Stephens says his officers stopped pursuing at the Jackson County line.

He says the tragic results of this pursuit are spurring future changes to department protocol.

“We have a new protocol based on this to where if one of my officers is involved in a pursuit, he is to inform the Jackson County dispatch to be in contact with me so that I’ll be able to monitor this pursuit as well. Or any pursuit after this,” Stephens said.

On Wednesday, a WAFF 48 News crew went to the Gurley Police Department to ask what started this pursuit, why his officer continued this pursuit outside Gurley town limits and what happened to the driver they were pursuing. At the time of this publication, the Gurley Police Department has not provided a response.

Officer Whalen was released from the hospital and placed on paid administrative leave while state troopers investigate this crash.

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