Sgt. Stansbury: 'There was nothing I could do'

NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) – Day three of testimony in the Anthony Pierce trial began by wrapping up cross-examination of Officer Allison Jahreis.

Pierce is facing second degree murder charges in the death of Wilmington Police Officer Richard Matthews.  Matthews died after crashing his patrol car while on his way to assist an officer chasing Pierce in an SUV.

In his cross-examination, Defense Attorney Andrew Waters tried to ask Jahreis about department policy, but Judge Phyllis Gorham ruled that an officer's failure to follow policy had no bearing on the criminal charges in the case.

Jahreis testified she and Officer Matthews were trying to respond quickly to Officer Will Richards' call for backup.  Officer Richards was Matthews' supervisor for the night and was acting as the first unit in the pursuit.  Policy states two patrol cars should be involved in a chase situation.

Waters finished cross-examining Jahreis at 10:45 Thursday morning.  Sgt. Curt Stansbury, who responded to Matthews' accident, was the next officer to testify.

Stansbury said Jahreis had a look of terror on her face when he arrived to the scene.  He said it was apparent Matthews was seriously injured and became choked up as he described the blood running over the officer's badge making it "sparkle."

"I just talked to him," Stansbury explained. "It was like there was nothing I could do."

Officer Michael Knight took the stand after Stansbury and testified he jumped in his car immediately after hearing Richards was in pursuit and was driving about 100 mph to get to him.

District Attorney Ben David began showing the jury the dash camera video from Knight's patrol car before the court recessed for lunch at 12:45.

Sgt. Joe Fitzgerald was called to testify in the case as an expert in crash reconstruction.  He described the accident, walking the jury through more than a dozen photos of Matthews' car.  He said firefighters had to cut the roof off the patrol car to get Matthews out.

The jury was shown the dash camera video from Matthews' car during his testimony.  The video is just over two minutes long and shows the car turning onto Carolina Beach Road and Shipyard Blvd. then swerving to avoid the box.

It was determined that Officer Matthews was traveling at an average speed of 75 mph while driving down Shipyard Blvd.  Fitzgerald said Jahreis had a higher average speed while driving behind Matthews on the same road.

Stay with WECT and for updates as this trial continues.

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