Questions arise about investigation after fatal crash

Published 12:00 am Sunday, October 18, 2015

An unsigned letter from a concerned citizen has raised questions about the Vicksburg Police Department’s investigation into the Oct. 12 death of a Vicksburg man during a traffic accident.

Dr. Noland Boyd, an associate professor of chemistry at Alcorn State University, was killed when the motorcycle he was riding was struck from behind by a car driven buy Kevin Williams Jr., 17, also of Vicksburg.

The accident occurred about 12:30 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 11, on U.S. 61 South, just south of Crossway Church.

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The anonymous letter asked why no blood was drawn from Williams after the accident, and questions if he may have received special treatment because he is the stepson of police Capt. Sandra Williams, who commands the department’s investigations division.

Police Chief Walter Armstrong denies the teenager received any special treatment.

“That is absolutely not true,” he said. “I’ve been told the officers on the scene did not know he was her stepson, and certainly I had no knowledge of him being her stepson, because I don’t know who he is. I never met him to my knowledge.”

Capt. Williams declined to comment.

Armstrong said the officers acted properly when they did not require a blood sample.

“The law prohibits drawing blood unless there is probable cause,” he said. “In other words, unless we suspected there was drugs or alcohol by way of finding drugs, by way of smell of alcohol, by way the person was reacting and that can be used as probable cause. None of those things were present. The officers on the scene did not suspect drugs or alcohol, therefore, we didn’t have any authority to ask for it.”

At one time, he said, officers working fatal accidents were required by law to take blood samples from all parties involved, including the victim, for analysis, but the law was declared unconstitutional by the Mississippi Supreme Court and was rewritten.

“The Supreme Court said we cannot do it without probable cause. You can’t just automatically do it any more,” he said. “The probable cause wasn’t there, because we didn’t suspect any we didn’t smell any alcohol or anything of that nature, and he wasn’t acting as though he was impaired in any kind of way.”


About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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