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Police: Officer killed in crash drove 109 mph with no lights, sirens

Sheriff calls speed in early morning on Flamingo Road ‘excessive and unsafe’

Updated Wednesday, May 20, 2009 | 5:25 p.m.

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  • Sheriff Doug Gillespie addressed the accident that killed Metro Police Officer James Manor at a press conference on Wednesday.
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Metro Police officer killed

Metro Police officer James Manor, 28, was killed at the intersection of Flamingo Road and Ravenwood Drive Thursday morning. Launch slideshow »

Officer James Manor

Metro Officer James Manor and his daughter, Jayla Manor. Launch slideshow »
Click to enlarge photo

Calvin Darling

Metro Police Officer James Manor, who was killed earlier this month while responding to a 911 call, was speeding and had no emergency lights or siren on at the time of the crash, police said Wednesday.

Sheriff Doug Gillespie said Manor was traveling east on Flamingo Road at 109 mph just before the collision, which occurred at 1:49 a.m. on May 7.

At the time of the crash, the officer’s car was clocked at 90 mph, Gillespie said. Manor wasn't wearing a seat belt.

The sheriff said officers must obey traffic laws if responding to calls without using their vehicle's emergency lights and siren. The speed limit along the stretch of Flamingo where the crash occurred is 45 mph.

“Officer Manor’s speed was excessive and unsafe,” Gillespie said.

The sheriff said he learned of the officer's speed, gathered from laboratory tests, late Friday night.

“Even with lights and sirens, that speed was excessive," Gillespie said.

A second patrol car responding to a 911 call also didn't use its lights or siren, Gillespie said. Investigators have not determined the speed of the second car, he said.

The investigation into the fatal collision continues and charges have not been filed with the district attorney’s office against Calvin Darling, who was turning at the time his pickup truck collided with the officer's cruiser.

Darling, 45, was arrested for DUI after the collision. He was released the following day after two blood-alcohol tests, drawn an hour apart at University Medical Center, showed he had a .035 and a .02 blood-alcohol level -- below the legal limit of .08. Darling was turning his red pickup truck left from Flamingo Road when the collision occurred at Ravenwood Drive.

Darling had told police he had "three or four" beers after he got off work at the Bellagio.

"It was a valid arrest," Gillespie said, adding Darling failed a sobriety test.

Darling could still face a charge of failing to yield to an emergency vehicle, but police and the district attorney’s office are investigating any possible charges, Gillespie said.

During a news conference Wednesday, Gillespie said “forensic evidence does not support” initial information given by officers after the crash, such as police reports that the emergency lights were in use. The police fatal investigation team examined filaments in the light bulbs of the patrol car lights to determine whether they were in use.

The sheriff said there is “discretion” for officers responding to a 911 call, as Manor was, to either use or not use emergency flashing lights and sirens.

“He believed a young woman was in danger and he responded,” Gillespie said of Manor’s actions before the crash. “He was a cop’s cop.”

The 911 call from a 14-year-old girl that set the officers in motion is still under investigation, Gillespie said.

An executive level committee is reviewing the lights and sirens policy for Metro Police and Gillespie said he has issued a message to all officers. Metro Police officers undergo a “robust” training program before they are assigned, the sheriff said.

Manor was just shy of serving two years with Metro Police.

Funeral services for Manor were held Friday.

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