MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Marquell Griffin, 50, is facing a slew of charges after investigators say he drove drunk and killed off-duty Memphis Police Lt. Myron Fair on his way home from work early Thursday morning.
Court records show Griffin was speeding around 12:30 a.m. when he slammed into the back of Fair's car at the intersection of Austin Peay and Yale, flipping it and sending it rolling onto the side of the road.
Fair was dead by the time first responders arrived.
"This is a tough time for the Memphis Police Department," MPD Director Mike Rallings said in a press conference Thursday morning. "We ask the public to keep the entire Memphis Police Department and definitely our off-duty lieutenants family in their thoughts and prayers."
When police got to the scene, they say Griffin was laying on the ground in front of a nearby gas station, reeking of booze, and could barely stand or walk.
He had been charged with at least three previous DUIs.
Thaddeus Matthews, a pastor and friend of Fair who lost his son to a drunk driver nearly two years ago, says Griffin should never have been on the streets in the first place.
"We've got to do more. We've got to have more programs in place to try to emphasize to people the dangers of what they're doing," he said. "To be off-duty... and to be killed this way is probably an even greater devastation than if it had happened on the job."
Family says Fair was set to retire soon after being with the department for more than 25 years.
"You work for 25 years, you're almost at the point where you can go home and kick your legs up and then something like this tragically happens to your and your family," Matthews said.
Fair leaves behind a wife and two children.
Griffin is charged with reckless driving, vehicular homicide, leaving the scene of a crash involving death and possession of a controlled substance.
He will be in court Friday morning.