Findings of investigation into the death of innocent driver turned over to Madison County District Attorney

WAFF 48's Megan Plotka reporting
Published: Nov. 16, 2023 at 5:54 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 17, 2023 at 5:05 PM CST
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MADISON Co., Ala. (WAFF) - Alabama Law Enforcement Agency investigators have confirmed that the findings of the investigation into the deadly crash that claimed the life of an innocent driver have been turned over to the Madison County District Attorney.

Matthew Norwood, 22 was hit and killed in the middle of a police chase on Jordan Lane near I-565 in Huntsville on July 21. The initial chase was over 50 miles long, it started in Hollywood and ended in Huntsville.

The Hollywood Police Officer, who initiated the chase, stopped pursuing the driver once they started to exit his jurisdiction near Chapman Mountain. Gurley Police Office Christopher Whalen joined the pursuit as it entered into Gurley.

Hollywood Chief of Police Travis Stevens says the deadly chase started because a driver was committing traffic violations outside the Hollywood Town Hall. He says it’s up to the discretion of the officer to continue or stop the chase.

“It can be safer to allow the bad guy to leave the scene to go or is it safer to apprehend the person because they obviously have a lack of safety for the public as a whole,” he said.

Stevens says he can’t determine if Officer Whalen made the right call to pursue the driver.

“I wasn’t there in that situation,” Chief Stevens said. “I wasn’t sure why those decisions were made and I wouldn’t feel comfortable commenting on it. I’m not going to tell you that they’re wrong and I certainly can’t tell you if they’re right.”

Chief Stevens says he believes the initial driver should be held responsible for Norwood’s death.

Norwood’s community continues to mourn as it has been four months since his death and the family still has more questions than answers.

“His loss has just been devastating for his family, his mom and dad, brothers and sisters,” said Norwood’s former pastor Ernest Williams, Sr. “They all loved him, we loved him”

Williams Sr. says Norwood was a spiritual young man who was active in the church choir.

“He could get everyone involved, especially the young people, and especially the times we live in, we’re always looking for people who can connect with young people with the good news of Jesus and Matthew was that bridge,” Williams said.

WAFF 48 News has repeatedly asked state troopers, Gurley police and other agencies what happened to the driver who began the chase. No one will say where that first driver is now.

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