Mayor and Police Director Speak About Deadly Crash Involving Officer

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(Memphis) Police have identified the officer involved in a deadly crash near Walnut and Crump that killed two people and left two others hospitalized this past weekend.

Officer Alex Beard earned his badge a year ago, now he’s on paid leave.

“We mourn for them and pray for them as they mourn the loss of two family members, including 13-year-old McKayla,” said Memphis Mayor A C Wharton.

The family was in Memphis for a birthday party.

“It was supposed to be a day of joy, instead it turned into a day of tragedy,” said Memphis Mayor Wharton.

One that now plagues the city with questions as to how this happened.

“It appears speed may have been a contributing factor to this accident, but again this is an ongoing investigation,” said Memphis Police Director Toney Armstrong.

The Tennessee Highway patrol will conduct an outside investigation to determine if Officer Alex Beard was at fault, exactly how fast he was going, and if Beard was operating the cars blue lights and sirens.

Witnesses say, the officer was not.

“They are mandated to operate those vehicles in a safe manner, not to put the public at risk,” said Armstrong.

Mayor Wharton says the city is also looking into buying new technology to put into squad cars.

Technology like high-tech GPS systems showing exactly where an officer is and that alert the department once that officer's car goes over a set speed.

“Giving us extra eyes on high-speed car chases and routine responses,” said Wharton.

We're told talks of getting this system started a year ago, but with this latest crash, Mayor Wharton says he`ll soon ask the council to consider buying it.

Right now, it’s not known how much it will cost.

But since it’s costing the police some credibility with people right now, the Mayor saysthere isn’t a dollar price that would be too much, “There have been an unacceptable number of incidents involving city vehicles, in particularly police vehicles."