MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A Memphis police lieutenant is dead and a driver behind bars following an early morning DUI crash in Raleigh.
According to police, Lt. Myron Fair was at the intersection of Austin Peay and Yale in a 2017 Nissan Altima when he was hit from behind by a 2015 Dodge Durango. He was off duty at the time, just after midnight Thursday morning.
The impact flipped the officer's car, sending it across the roadway before it came to a stop.
Another officer on routine patrol came across the accident and called it in to dispatchers.
A witness told responding officers that the suspect was driving at high speed when the accident happened. After the crash, the driver of the Durango got out of his vehicle and walked to a nearby Exxon gas station where he laid down and began playing with his keys.
The suspect was bleeding from the mouth, had water eyes, had a slow reaction time, had trouble standing and smelled of alcohol, police said. He was detained and taken to the Regional Medical Center for treatment.
Several hours later, police identified him to the public as Marquell Griffin.
Griffin was charged with DUI, reckless driving, vehicular homicide, leaving the scene of a crash involving death and possession of a controlled substance. His arrest record shows a history of DUIs and driving violations.
In 2014, police say he was driving erratically drunk when he took them on a chase, jumped a curb and stopped in someone's yard.
Fair had served more than 25 years in law enforcement. He was shot while working undercover in 2004, but went right back to work after recovering, according to family.
Family members say he cared most about his family and serving others and would light up when talking about his job with the police department. He had just gotten off work when the crash happened, they said.
"This was a heinous crime. He was taken. His life was taken unnecessarily, and if you're thinking about drinking and driving, don't," Fair's cousin Natasha Richey said. She says she knew as a kid he would grow up to be a civil servant. "That's the way he was as a child. He was fun, he was loving, he was active, he was always a helper. We knew it then."
Richey says Fair was close to retirement and was looking forward to spending more time with his wife and two children. The Shelby County Sheriff's Office said Fair's wife is a deputy sheriff with the county.
"We are eternally grateful for his years of service to the citizens of Memphis," the Memphis Police Department said on its Twitter account.
Thaddeus Matthews, a local online and radio personality whose son was killed by a drunk driver two years ago, was friends with Fair and said the two had spoken in the past few weeks.
“He treated people fairly in the streets, and that’s the most important thing you look for in a police officer – you’re fair with people in the community,” Matthews said.