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Trooper Darryl Haywood
End of Watch: Saturday, October 2, 2004

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State Trooper Remembered

Published on Tuesday, October 3, 2006
in the Central Florida News 13

A somber scene in Volusia County as friends, family, and colleagues remember a fallen trooper.

It's been two years since Trooper Daryl Haywood died after his car spun out of control while pursing a speeding motorcycle on I-4 in Daytona Beach.

Yesterday the entrance ramp to westbound Interstate 4 just west of International Speedway Boulevard, was renamed the Trooper Daryl Haywood Highway.

His widow, Linda said, "I hope that when people see this sign that they slow down, and I hope that they obey all the traffic laws and travel this road safely. No one leaves their home in the morning and expects not to come back home."

Haywood's son, Trooper Daryl Haywood, Jr. was on hand for the ceremony. He too was involved in an accident that almost killed him. He was hit while pulling a driver over in south Florida.


Memorial honors fallen officers, firefighters

Published on Saturday, February 26, 2006
in the Daytona Beach News-Journal

EDGEWATER -- Car wrecks. Burning buildings. Armed robberies.

Every day people in need call police officers and firefighters, who lay their lives on the line to protect the public.

Sometimes an everyday hero becomes a fallen hero. To honor those in Volusia and Flagler counties, a crowd of about 150 gathered Saturday at Sea Pines Memorial Gardens.

"They're the ones we reach out to when our lives are in danger," said Oak Hill Mayor Mike Thompson. "How comforting that someone is protecting our lives."

Saturday's event was emotional for members of the New Smyrna Beach Police Department. It was their first memorial service since losing Officer Roy Nelson in August, said Chief Ron Pagano.

"This was more difficult, more emotional for us," Pagano said afterwards.

Nelson, 36, and his K-9 partner Ceasar, died Aug. 13 when his patrol car hit a guardrail and flipped on the South Causeway after swerving to avoid a truck while responding to a call.

His widow, Angie, and their children attended Saturday's service, surrounded by officers who offered hugs and support.

Nelson was a great officer, father and husband, Pagano said in remarks to the crowd. "Angie we still love ya' and we think about you every day."

Pagano said the department checks on Nelson's family at least a couple of times a week and will send officers to escort her to the annual memorial service at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C., later this spring.

It's one of three annual memorials planned in the months to come, Pagano said. The annual Volusia County event is planned for 9 a.m. May 19 at a Daytona Beach cemetery, said Kelli Grim, daughter-in-law of Bob Grim, an Ormond Beach officer who was killed in the line of duty in an accident in November 2004.

Ceremonies like Saturday's are rewarding for officers and firefighters and their families, said Lt. Cliff Williams, who leads the honor guard for the Volusia County Sheriff's Office.

Williams was one of several who said it's rare for officers and firefighters to receive even a simple thank you.

"When we are safe we complain and criticize," Thompson said. "Let us bury our complaints and criticisms and offer our respect."

Edgewater Mayor Mike Thomas said he shared a special kinship with the law officers after 30 years as an officer with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, a job called game warden in the old days.

"I got shot at. They tried to stab me. I've been hit. I've been gator bit and I've been dog bit," Thomas said. "You don't do it for the pay, you do it because you believe in it."

The ceremony featured a 21-gun volley by the Volusia County Sheriff's honor guard, a flyover by the Spruce Creek Gaggle, presentation of colors and a wreath by the American Legion Edgewater Post 285 color guard and music by the Colonial Highlanders Bag Pipes.

Pagano read the names of fallen officers from Volusia and Flagler counties. That was followed by a list of the names of fallen firefighters by New Smyrna Beach Fire Chief Tim Hawver.

Several officers paid their respects at the grave of Nelson and his dog Ceasar, leaving behind a flower bouquet and dog biscuits.

Firefighters

1960 Frank E. Viall

1980 Marlin K. Bennett, Daytona Beach

1984 Jack L. Pratt, New Smyrna Beach

1986 George R. Kennedy, Edgewater

1991 James D. Sapp , New Smyrna Beach

1991 Mark A. Wilkes, New Smyrna Beach

1993 Gordon S. Moore

2002 Vaughn R. Lemmond, Daytona Beach

2004 David A. Mackie, Orange City

Law Enforcement Officers

1895 Jefferson D. Kurtz, Volusia County Sheriff

1898 William Kremer, Volusia County Sheriff's Office

1907 Charles M. Kurtz, Volusia County Sheriff's Office

1907 William P. Edwards, Volusia County Sheriff's Office

1927 Perry Hall, Flagler County Sheriff

1927 George W. Durrance, Flagler County Sheriff's Office

1927 Frank A. Smith,

1930 Lewis Tanner, Daytona Beach Police Department

1931 Benny Stricklin, Daytona Beach Police Department

1932 L. B. Hall, Daytona Beach Police Department

1937 Willie Denson, Daytona Beach Police Department

1942 Elmer Michael, DeLand Police Department

1945 Harry Raines, Daytona Beach Police Department

1961 Edwin Gasque, Florida Highway Patrol

1974 Alva Hayman,

1979 George Tinsley, DeLand Police Department

1979 Donald Shackelford, Volusia County Sheriff's Office

1980 Sam Etheredge, Jr., Daytona Beach Police Department

1981 Greg Sorenson, Daytona Beach Police Department

1982 Stephen Saboda, Volusia County Sheriff's Office

1987 Tim Pollard, Ponce Inlet Police Department

1998 Kevin J. Fischer, Daytona Beach Police Department

2003 Charles T. Sease , Flagler County Sheriff's Office

2004 Darryl L. Haywood Sr., Florida Highway Patrol

2004 Robert F. Grim, Sr., Ormond Beach Police Department

2005 Roy L. Nelson , Jr., New Smyrna Beach Police Department


Man sentenced to 30 years for crash that killed trooper

Published on Saturday, December 3, 2005
in the Daytona Beach News-Journal

DAYTONA BEACH -- There were no winners in the courtroom Friday when Donald Williams was sentenced to 30 years in prison for causing the death of a state trooper during a chase in 2004, a judge said.

More than 25 uniformed Florida Highway Patrol troopers filled half of Circuit Judge R. Michael Hutcheson's courtroom to support the family of Trooper Darryl Haywood, killed Oct. 2, 2004, when his cruiser, traveling at more than 100 mph, crashed into a car and then a tree on Interstate 4 while trying to stop Williams on a speeding motorcycle.

"Two people made a mistake that day," Tampa defense lawyer Leon Jones said of the speed the men were traveling. "Now, both families are hurting."

Haywood was killed when the tire on his Camaro cruiser blew out at 130 mph while chasing the motorcycle that was reported speeding and racing. His son was sworn as a trooper after his death.

During the sentencing, testimony heard from friends and loved ones of both men showed similarities they shared, including a commitment to work and family.

"No matter what sentence I impose," Hutcheson said before making his decision, "there will be no winner or loser."

Williams, 39, a father of two from Seffner who had been ticketed six times in eight years, had no criminal record before. He was convicted in a jury trial Oct. 18 of aggravated manslaughter, vehicular homicide and fleeing or attempting to elude an officer causing death.

"You have taken away my life's partner, my children's father," widow Linda Haywood said. "Had you stopped as you were required to under the law, you would have realized that Trooper Haywood's interest in you was solely motivated by his obligation to enforce traffic laws and protect motorists of the state of Florida, including yourself . . . our hearts are broken and nothing will ever heal them."

Williams spoke in court for the first time Friday. He said he'd wanted to write a letter of apology to the Haywood family but was advised against it. Speaking slowly, Williams said he was deeply sorry.

"Something happened that day that tore two families apart," he said. "It was a bad thing that happened to two good people."

Haywood of Palm Coast was 49 and also a father of two. He was a New York City police detective who had been promoted to provide security for diplomats and presidents.

Williams was stopped in St. Johns County later that same day, when his motorcycle tire went flat. He confessed that he had accelerated to 100 mph when he saw the trooper on the side of the interstate. Throughout the trial, Williams denied that he ever knew the trooper was after him, in spite of witnesses who said they saw him look back as he sped by.

"I hope one day we will be able to put this behind us," Williams said, "and communicate like people."

As in the trial, defense lawyer Jones said Haywood's death was caused not by Williams' actions, but by a choice the trooper made to aggressivly chase the motorcycle at high speed.

Haywood's daughter, Erica Haywood, 23, took offense to Jones' position that her father died because of his "choice" to continue pursuing Williams. "That was his job." she said. "It was not his choice."

Haywood was described as a proud yet humble trooper and dedicated family man. "Darryl had a passion for helping people," FHP Maj. Cyrus Brown said. "He intended to make the world a better place."

Likewise, Williams was portrayed by tearful family members as a veteran of the Gulf War, a generous friend and supportive father who remains a best friend of his ex-wife. In an emotional plea for leniency, Williams' teenage daughter, Shantavia Williams, said her father was on his way to see her near Jacksonville when Haywood died. "I feel like it's my fault," she said.

"I know if he could, he would take all this back," said Williams' niece, Amanda Thompson, 16.

Haywood's family members said later they felt the sentence was fair.

"As a Christian, I've already forgiven him," Linda Haywood said.

The deep sense of loss for both families was illuminated after Williams was led away to serve his time. After the television cameras had moved on, Linda Haywood walked over and offered Williams' 16-year-old daughter a hug. For a long moment, they held each other tight.


Biker to go to prison

Donald Williams is sentenced to 30 years for the death of Trooper Darryl Haywood in a 2004 crash.

Published on Saturday, December 3, 2005
in the Orlando Sentinel

It only took a few minutes of a high-speed chase on Interstate 4 for two men to lose everything.

Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Darryl Haywood lost his life when he crashed into a tree pursuing a speeding motorcycle.

Donald Williams, 39, who admitted he drove upward of 100 mph on Oct. 2, 2004, lost his freedom. On Friday, Circuit Judge R. Michael Hutcheson sentenced Williams to 30 years in prison on charges of aggravated manslaughter and aggravated fleeing and eluding a law-enforcement officer causing death.

About two dozen troopers attended the sentencing hearing to show their support for Haywood, who joined the agency in 2000 after a 20-year career with the New York Police Department. He was the 39th Florida trooper killed in the line of duty.

"I regret that you have never met anybody like Darryl," the trooper's wife, Linda Haywood, tearfully told Williams. "If you had known him, you would have had more respect for the law on Oct. 2, 2004."

Witnesses for the state and defense described each man as a good person, a loving father and a family man.

"Darryl had a passion for helping people," FHP Maj. Cyrus Brown said. "He wanted to make the world a better place."

Williams took the stand and extended his condolences to Haywood's family.

"Something happened that day that tore two families apart," he said. "It was a bad thing that happened to two good people."

Williams faced up to 60 years for the verdict that was reached last month. Haywood's family, who had requested the maximum, said they were satisfied with the sentence.

"It just can't bring him back," his daughter, Erica Malloy, said.

Williams' family remained "very hopeful" after the hearing.

"I just feel like it's going to be overturned," said Tasha McCray, his ex-wife. "He's a good person, and everything will work out for him."

Williams' sentence in Volusia County will run alongside a sentence from St. Johns County where he received 30 months in prison for aggravated fleeing and eluding for the tail-end of his journey to the Jacksonville area.

Williams was going to visit his 16-year-old daughter that day.

She had called asking him to make the drive from Hillsborough County, where Williams lives.

"I feel like it's my fault he's in this mess," Shuantavia Williams told the judge. "I want him to come home."

During a break in the three-hour hearing, one of Williams' longtime friends approached Haywood's widow with a hug.

"I'm sorry for the decision he made," Stella Canty told Linda Haywood.


Palm Coast to recognize fallen heroes with a park

Published on Monday, October 24, 2005
in the St. Augustine Record

PALM COAST -- Since Palm Coast's inception in 1999, the city has exploded in population, new construction, new schools and new jobs. Now, the city says its focus is on honoring the past and the local heroes who contributed to the area with the greatest sacrifice -- their lives.

To do this, Hero's Memorial Park will be built to honor those who lost their life while serving in the military, law enforcement, and emergency services such as the fire department.

"People who lay down their lives to protect mankind should be recognized, and this gives us an opportunity to recognize those from Palm Coast who have given the maximum or ultimate sacrifice," said John Jackson, Palm Coast Parks and Recreation.

Jackson will oversee the park project, which will be on two acres of land the city owns along Palm Coast Parkway. There will be benches and a walking path that leads to four separate areas or "contemplation points," said Jackson.

The four areas will honor local law enforcement, firefighters and emergency personnel, those who died in the military, and victims of Sept. 11, 2001.

Jackson said they will not list the name of the victims of 9-11, but they will honor the victims of that day. "There are so many people who have moved here from the New York/Pennsylvania area who were touched by 9-11 or may have lost loved ones, so we feel it is appropriate to have a place for them to come."

Two recent deaths in local law enforcement will be honored at Heroes Park said Jackson. Florida Highway Patrol Officer Darryl Haywood died in October 2004 in Volusia County, and Deputy Chuck Sease of the Flagler County Sheriff's Office died July 5, 2003.

Haywood was a former New York City Police officer with 20 years of service. He was working for the Highway Patrol out of Volusia County when he was attempting to overtake a speeding motorcycle and died because of a traffic crash. He was 50.

"It is very important to recognize and honor those law enforcement officers who have made the ultimate sacrifice while protecting the citizens of the state of Florida," said Lt. Bill Leeper, Florida Highway Patrol.

Sease, 36, was killed in the line of duty as he attempted to stop a fleeing suspect. Sease was a six-year veteran of the Waterbury, Conn., Police Department, and was in his second month of in-field officer training with the Flagler County Sheriff's Department.

"We appreciate that the community and the city of Palm Coast have chosen to honor the memory of our fallen heroes. We hope this park will be well visited. The park will serve as a reminder of the ultimate sacrifice that has been made for the community on behalf of our fallen heroes," said Chief Deputy Rick Look.

The idea for the park began with Palm Coast Mayor James Canfield -- the funding from local developer, Bhagwan Asnani. Asnani donated $125,000 for the development of the park.

"The world is free because of these heroes and I have such a great appreciation for what these heroes do for us. This is my way to show that appreciation for all of us to enjoy," said Asnani.

Ground will be broken on the park in about two months. The parks department hopes the construction will take no more than 90 days once it has begun.

"We are trying to build on the idea and make this park something our community can be proud of for years to come," said Jackson.


Motorcyclist found guilty in trooper's death

Published on Wednesday, October 19, 2005
in the Daytona Beach News-Journal

DAYTONA BEACH -- A jury deliberated for three hours Tuesday before finding Donald Williams guilty in causing the death of a Florida Highway Patrol trooper last year.

The jury of five women and one man sat through five days of testimony before convicting Williams, 39, of Seffner of aggravated manslaughter, vehicular homicide and fleeing or attempting to elude a law enforcement officer causing death.

Trooper Darryl Haywood, 49, was killed Oct. 2, 2004, when his tire blew out at 130 mph, causing his Camaro cruiser to crash into another car and then a tree on Interstate 4 near DeLand.

"Thank you," Haywood's widow, Linda Haywood of Palm Coast, said to family members around her after the verdict was read.

On the other side of the courtroom, there was no one there for Williams, who faces up to 30 years in prison. He also faces 15 years in prison after pleading guilty in St. Johns County to fleeing from a trooper there after Haywood was killed.

The trial here focused on 15 eyewitnesses who were driving east on the interstate that Saturday afternoon.

In sport utility vehicles, minivans and sports cars, the witnesses reported seeing the speeding motorcycle blast by them, and weave through traffic, sometimes passing between cars on the dotted white line. Then, they saw the trooper's cruiser in pursuit about 30 seconds later.

Their varying perspectives made the case unique in that the crime scene was a seven-mile stretch of highway.

"He's going to kill himself or somebody else," Ellen Sellers of Oviedo recalled saying about the motorcyclist, seconds before the Highway Patrol cruiser sped by.

A U.S. Marine Corps Reserves fighter pilot said he saw Williams look back as the trooper raced to catch up.

That testimony was challenged by Tampa defense lawyer Leon Jones, who used questions and a crash reconstruction expert to cast doubt on what witnesses saw.

With more than one witness, Jones asked why they had not mentioned seeing Williams turn to look back in statements to investigators right after the trooper's fatal crash.

"I didn't know if it would be pertinent information, at that point," wrecker driver Trevor Smith replied.

Jones also tried to discredit the testimony of a jailhouse snitch who said Williams told him he knew the trooper had crashed when he looked back to see "a puff of smoke."

Shortly before the jury started deliberations, prosecutor Celeste Gagne played a videotape of Williams confessing to investigators that he accelerated to more than 100 mph on his unregistered motorcycle when he saw the trooper on the side of the road. She also played a tape of 911 callers, who reported the trooper had crashed while in pursuit. "The motorcycle got away," one caller said.

Gagne told jurors it wasn't necessary to believe Williams knew there would be a crash to find he had caused Haywood's death. "All we have to prove is that it would be reasonably foreseeable that there would be an injury, period."

As part of his defense, Jones suggested it was Trooper Haywood's own actions -- not Williams' driving -- that caused the crash. He called two witnesses who said a tractor trailer drifted into their lane as the trooper sped past on the right shoulder.

"Donald Williams did not substantially contribute to this accident," he said during his closing argument. "It was not foreseeable that Trooper Haywood would be endangered in this manner."

Jones said the trooper had turned his siren off because "he was never going to catch that motorcyclist," and referred to one of Haywood's last radio transmissions, when he said, "I was attempting to stop that motorcycle . . . but he took off on me."

Haywood's daughter, Erica Haywood, 23, walked from the courtroom as Jones spoke, letting the door slam behind her. "That might happen more than once," Jones said.

"He was doing whatever he could do to catch up, not what he had to do," Jones said. "It was his choice."

Gagne said she was impressed by the number of witnesses who came forward. "So often, people don't want to get involved," she said. "It was a trooper, but I also think they were incensed by the motorcyclist, by the driving they were seeing, the recklessness."

Haywood's widow thanked those who provided information about her husband's final chase.

"Now Mr. Williams will be held accountable for the death of my husband," she said. "who was doing his job."


Motorcyclist faces prison for causing trooper's death

Published on Wednesday, October 19, 2005
in the Orlando Sentinel

DAYTONA BEACH -- A high-speed pursuit on Interstate 4 last year between a motorcyclist and a Florida Highway Patrol trooper lasted only minutes and ended when the trooper's patrol car crashed into a tree.

The motorcyclist, Donald Williams, could now face up to 60 years in prison for causing the trooper's death.

A Volusia jury deliberated for three hours Tuesday and convicted the Hillsborough County man of aggravated manslaughter, vehicular homicide and fleeing and eluding a law-enforcement officer and causing a death.

He will be sentenced later.

Trooper Darryl Haywood, 49, was pursuing Williams on Oct. 2, 2004, with their speeds topping 100 mph, until Haywood's Chevrolet Camaro sustained a tire blowout, spun, struck another car and then crashed into a pine tree.

Haywood had joined the highway patrol in 2000 after retiring from a 20-year career with the New York Police Department. He was the 39th trooper killed in the line of duty.

Surrounded by family and friends, his widow, Linda Haywood, wept quietly as the verdict was read, and said she was grateful to prosecutors and the witnesses who helped in the case.

"I thank the witnesses who came forward on behalf of Darryl because this is all about Darryl," Linda Haywood said, fighting back tears. "Victory isn't always sweet, and I understand that another family has suffered because of the events that occurred.

"But when you commit a bad act, you have to be held accountable," she continued. "Now he will be held accountable for the death of my husband, who was doing his job, a job he loved very, very much."

Williams' defense attorney, Leon Jones of Tampa, said he was speechless.

"The jury had a very difficult task. We were hoping they would see the scenario where Trooper Haywood, a good man, made a mistake," Jones said.

The central question in the case, as Jones and Assistant State Attorney Celeste Gagne said in their closing arguments, was who was responsible for Haywood's fatal crash.

Jones had tried to place the blame on Haywood, arguing that the trooper didn't have to pursue Williams at speeds over 100 mph.

Jones pointed out that in Haywood's last radio transmission, there isn't an audible siren wail. Jones argued that meant that Haywood broke off the pursuit about three miles before the fatal accident, and that Haywood didn't need to continue the high speeds or didn't need to split traffic or drive into the emergency lane.

"He chose to do that," Jones said. "He didn't need to do that. It was his choice."

The jury apparently took note of his argument and during deliberations asked to listen to Haywood's radio call a couple of times.

Gagne argued that Williams caused the fatal crash with his reckless behavior during the pursuit.

About 15 witnesses testified to seeing some part of the chase and described Williams speeding, weaving in and out of traffic and using the emergency lanes to pass. Many witnesses said they saw the motorcyclist speed by and then saw the trooper's marked Camaro, with its lights flashing and siren blaring, as close as 15 seconds behind. At least three witnesses testified that the motorcyclist briefly turned around to check on the trooper.

Gagne said Williams' driving posed a safety risk to everyone on the highway that day, to the point that he was grossly negligent and caused the fatal crash.

"There were numerous people who were exposed to his dangerousness, but it was Trooper Haywood who suffered the ultimate consequences," Gagne said.


Gap at issue in trooper death

The defense rests, contending a biker was too far ahead to know of the pursuit that led to the fatal crash.

Published on Tuesday, October 18, 2005
in the Orlando Sentinel

DAYTONA BEACH -- Testimony concluded Monday in the vehicular-homicide trial of a Hillsborough County motorcyclist with several defense witnesses expressing doubt about whether a Florida Highway Patrol trooper got close enough before the fatal crash for the defendant to know he was being chased.

An Orlando couple and a professional engineer were among the last witnesses in the trial of Donald Williams, a 39-year-old Seffner man accused of vehicular homicide, aggravated manslaughter and fleeing or trying to elude a law-enforcement officer.

Williams was riding his Suzuki motorcycle east on Interstate 4 on Oct. 2, 2004, when Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Darryl Haywood pursued him, but the trooper's patrol car sustained a tire blowout during the 100-mph-plus pursuit. Haywood's Camaro spun, struck a car and crashed into a pine tree at the side of the highway, a few miles east of the DeLand exit.

Leon Jones, Williams' attorney, offered five witnesses for the defense, including Terry and Mary Jordan of Orlando and professional engineer Donald Fournier. After Fournier testified, there was a brief pause in the trial as Jones met privately with Williams for several minutes. Williams decided not to testify.

The case will likely go to the jury today, with closing arguments scheduled before Circuit Judge R. Michael Hutcheson this morning.

On Monday, the Jordans testified they were driving on the highway and spotted a motorcyclist sometime after they crossed the St. Johns River bridge. They said they saw a patrol car parked by the side of the road, and the motorcyclist was nowhere in sight. Then the patrol car came up along the right-hand emergency lane and passed an 18-wheeler, which caused the big rig to drift slightly in front of the Jordans' car, the couple said, during their separate testimony. At one point, Terry Jordan expressed doubts to his wife about whether the trooper could catch the motorcyclist.

Their testimony differed from that of other witnesses, who also spotted the motorcyclist but reported seeing the trooper closely following behind.

Fournier, who wasn't a witness to the pursuit or the actual crash, testified as to the potential distances between Haywood and Williams. Using information about time and speed offered by other witnesses, he calculated that a motorcyclist traveling at 100 mph could cover a distance of about 21/2 football fields in five seconds.

Throughout the trial, Jones has challenged witnesses who said Williams acted as if he were aware of the chase. He questioned Fournier on a range of different mathematical scenarios, in an attempt to show there could have been a wide distance between Haywood and Williams.

Assistant State Attorney Celeste Gagne asked Fournier whether he thought that the trooper could have ever caught up with the motorcyclist.

"I have no way of knowing whether he could have caught up," Fournier said. "It depends on the speed of the trooper, the speed of the motorcyclist and the interfering traffic."


Closings in vehicular manslaughter trial

Published on Tuesday, October 18, 2005
in the Orlando Sentinel

DAYTONA BEACH -- Both attorneys in the vehicular manslaughter trial of a Hillsborough County man gave their arguments to a Volusia jury over whether he should be convicted for the death of a Florida Highway Patrol trooper.

The case of Donald Williams, a 39-year-old man, is expected to go to the jury this afternoon, after the prosecutor, Assistant State Attorney Celeste Gagne, gives a rebuttal argument and Circuit Judge R. Michael Hutcheson gives jury instructions.

Williams is accused of aggravated manslaughter, vehicular homicide, and fleeing or attempting to elude a law enforcement officer in relation to a high-speed chase and a crash in which Trooper Darryl Haywood was killed on Oct. 2, 2004.

During opening arguments in the morning, Gagne repeated to the jury some of the details of the 15 witnesses, who testified to having seen Williams' speeding motorcycle and Haywood's marked Camaro in pursuit.

She argued that Williams' reckless behavior, which included speeding at more than 100 mph and weaving in and out of traffic, is what led to Haywood's fatal crash.

However, defense attorney Leon Jones argued that the trooper was the one responsible and that Haywood made the choice to pursue at high speeds.


Jury to consider trooper death case

Published on Tuesday, October 18, 2005
in the Daytona Beach News-Journal

DAYTONA BEACH --Testimony ended Monday in the trial of a motorcyclist accused of causing the death of a Florida Highway Patrol trooper last year, and the decision is expected to go to jurors today.

Tampa defense lawyer Leon Jones called five witnesses to the stand on behalf of Donald Williams, 39, of Seffner, who is accused of fleeing from Trooper Darryl Haywood at high speed before the veteran officer crashed and died on Interstate 4.

Among those witnesses was a crash reconstruction expert and an Orlando couple who saw the motorcycle on the interstate before they passed a trooper parked on the side of the road. Terry Jordon of Orlando said he saw a motorcycle that matched the description of one ridden by Williams driving "nonchalantly," moving faster than Jordon was travelling.

After losing sight of the motorcycle, Jordon said, he passed the parked trooper.

"After a few seconds," he testified, he saw the FHP cruiser pass, "driving on the right shoulder," forcing a tractor trailer into Jordon's lane.

A few miles ahead, Jordon said, he came upon the scene of the fatal crash.

Williams, charged with aggravated manslaughter, vehicular homicide and fleeing or attempting to elude, faces up to 30 years in prison if convicted.

Closing arguments will be heard this morning in Circuit Judge R. Michael Hutcheson's courtroom.


Testimony ends in trooper-death case

Published on Monday, October 17, 2005
in the Orlando Sentinel

DAYTONA BEACH -- Testimony concluded today in the trial of a Hillsborough County man accused of causing a fatal crash with a Florida Highway Patrol trooper.

Five witnesses took the stand this morning during Donald Williams' trial at the Volusia County Justice Center in Daytona Beach.

Williams, 39, of Seffner, has been charged with vehicular homicide, aggravated manslaughter and fleeing or trying to elude a law enforcement office in relation to the Oct. 2, 2004 crash in which Trooper Darryl Haywood was killed.

According to witnesses, Haywood's patrol car had been pursuing Williams on Interstate 4, as they headed east on the highway, a few miles after the State Road 44 exit, a tire blew out on the patrol car, causing his car to spin and strike a tree.

Today's witnesses included a Florida Highway Patrol major, who discussed some of the agency's pursuit rules, as well as an Orlando couple who had spotted both the motorcycle and the trooper and thought that it might have been difficult for the trooper to catch up to the motorcycle. An engineer also testified as to the possible distances between the motorcycle and the trooper's car, using information based on what witnesses reported seeing.

Williams decided not to testify, but in a videotaped interview, he had told investigators that he had sped down the interstate at about 100 mph, but he didn't look back to see if a trooper was chasing him.

The trial will go to the jury tomorrow.


Biker admits to speeding in fatal chase

Published on Saturday, October 15, 2005
in the Daytona Beach News-Journal

DAYTONA BEACH -- Dressed in his khaki U.S. Marine's uniform, a fighter pilot now deployed in Iraq testified that he saw a motorcyclist turn and look behind him before a state trooper died during a pursuit on Interstate 4 last fall.

The videotaped testimony of Maj. Billy Wilson of Fleming Island in the Jacksonville area shown to jurors in Donald Williams' trial Friday was recorded Sept. 28, before Wilson was deployed for a two-month assignment as a pilot with the reserves. Wilson was scheduled to leave Oct. 1 and hopes to return home in December.

He was driving from Orlando to Jacksonville on Oct. 2, 2004, when he became a witness in Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Darryl Haywood's fatal crash.

"Suddenly a high-speed vehicle, a motorcycle sport bike, showed up at a high rate of speed," Wilson, 41, said. "He understood someone was following because he didn't look at me, he looked directly behind him."

Wilson's testimony was used by prosecutor Celeste Gagne to show Williams took evasive action and willfully caused Haywood's death. The trooper was pursuing a speeding motorcyclist on the interstate when a rear tire went flat on his cruiser as he traveled at more than 100 mph and he slammed into a tree.

Like others who were on the road that day, Wilson said he was shocked when the motorcycle rocketed by him at what he estimated through his military training to be 130 mph. The trooper's car followed about 30 seconds behind. When he saw the rider weave in and out of traffic and look back, Wilson said, "the weaving just cemented my position that he was definitely using evasive maneuvers."

"It was a quick check six," said the reservist from the Jacksonville area who flies for Federal Express, referring to a military parlance for looking to the rear.

Wilson said the rider's look made him look in his own rearview mirror to see the FHP cruiser coming up from behind. The cruiser passed at a lower rate of speed than the motorcycle, with siren wailing and lights flashing, Wilson said. He then saw a "disruption ahead," as Haywood's car lost control, struck another car and then a tree.

In other testimony heard Friday, a wrecker driver claimed he saw Williams look over his shoulder and a tire expert explained how the special police pursuit tire on Haywood's car was punctured, lost air and went flat, making control difficult.

"If the front (tire) fails, you still have control," said Richard Olsen, a tire expert for Goodyear. "If the rear fails, you don't have that control. You're better off with a failure in the front than in the rear."

As with other witnesses who claimed they saw Williams look behind as he passed rows of cars at more than 100 mph, Tampa defense lawyer Leon Jones challenged what Wilson saw that day in cross-examination on the videotape. "You could tell what direction the helmet might have been pointed, but you can't tell where their eyes are looking, can you ?" Jones asked, to which Wilson replied, "No."

"You still can't tell me where he's looking because you can't see his eyes, isn't that right? You're assuming, based on the position of the helmet, right?"

"Correct," Wilson said.

Jones, a former prosecutor-turned-defense lawyer and another witness for the state, wrecker driver Trevor Smith, were told to "calm down" by Circuit Judge R. Michael Hutcheson after they raised their voices during Jones' cross-examination.

Smith said he was driving east when he saw the motorcyclist pass him and look behind. Jones asked why he had never mentioned that fact to investigators before. "I neglected to tell them," Smith said. "I didn't know if it would be pertinent information at that point."

He also said he felt "a man lost his life unjustly by doing his job."

In a recording of the interview Williams had with investigators after he was spotted at a rest stop in St. Augustine, jurors heard Williams deny that he looked behind, or knew the trooper was in pursuit.

"I want to know what happened," Williams, 39, of Seffner said to investigators when the questioning started.

He said he was on his way to see his 15-year-old daughter, and that he sped up when he saw the trooper parked on the side of the road. "I figured he was going to come after me because I know I was speeding," he said.

Williams knew his motorcycle was not registered and he admitted traveling at more than 100 mph, but he denied looking back or knowing whether the trooper was after him. "I didn't look back," he said. "I just took off."

Williams remains at the Volusia County Branch Jail, charged with aggravated manslaughter, vehicular homicide and fleeing or attempting to elude. For the top two felonies, he could face up to 30 years in prison, if convicted.

The state rested its case Friday. The defense plans to present its case Monday. The decision is expected to go to jurors for deliberations as early as Tuesday.


Biker: I went 100 mph on I-4

The defendant in an officer's road death denies knowing he was being pursued.

Published on Saturday, October 15, 2005
in the Orlando Sentinel

DAYTONA BEACH -- During a videotaped interview played before a Volusia County jury Friday, a Hillsborough County man admitted he was speeding down Interstate 4 a year ago, weaving in and out of traffic, on a Suzuki motorcycle in a rush to see his daughter in Jacksonville.

But Donald Williams denied that he looked back at a Florida Highway Patrol car pursuing him -- or that he was even aware he was being pursued.

The videotaped statement, played Friday during Williams' vehicular-homicide trial, conflicts with two eyewitnesses who testified to seeing the motorcyclist turn around to check on a police car in pursuit.

Williams, 39, of Seffner is being tried for the vehicular homicide and aggravated manslaughter of Trooper Darryl Haywood, who was killed when his patrol car crashed during that high-speed pursuit on I-4 on Oct. 2, 2004. Haywood's patrol car crashed when its right-rear tire blew out, causing the car to spin and crash into a tree.

Several hours after that fatal crash, Williams was interviewed by the FHP and local homicide investigator Shon McGuire.

During the videotaped interview, he explained that he was on his way to see his 15-year-old daughter in Jacksonville. "She started crying, and I said, 'Well, don't worry, don't worry, I'll come get you,' " he said on the tape.

As he passed the exit for State Road 44, near DeLand, Williams spotted Haywood's patrol car, a Camaro, parked on the side of the road.

"I just sped up when I saw him," he said during the interview, admitting that he was probably exceeding 100 mph, and was weaving in and out of traffic. "I figured he was going to come after me because I was speeding."

However, he denied looking back or being aware he was being pursued.

"I know I didn't look over my shoulder," he said.

The jury heard a different version from two witnesses Friday. Both Trevor Smith, a flatbed wrecker driver from Apopka, and Billy G. Wilson, a commercial pilot and U.S. Marine Corps major, testified they saw the pursuit between an FHP Camaro and a Suzuki motorcycle on I-4 that day. They both testified that they remembered the motorcyclist looked behind.

"What gave me the idea that he was actually running was the fact when he passed me and he looked directly behind himself, and not at me when he passed," said Wilson, whose testimony was recorded because his Marine Corps unit was being deployed.

Williams' attorney, Leon Jones, challenged both witnesses about their testimony, especially since neither man had mentioned this particular detail or wrote it down for investigators. However, both witnesses felt the motorcyclist looked back, just as a patrol car came up the highway.

After Wilson's testimony was shown, Assistant State Attorney Celeste Gagne rested the state's case. Testimony for the defense is scheduled for Monday, and the trial could conclude as early as Tuesday.


Former cellmate testifies biker knew trooper was in pursuit

Published on Thursday, October 13, 2005
in the Daytona Beach News-Journal

DAYTONA BEACH -- A Daytona Beach man on parole testified Wednesday that Donald Williams told him he saw a "puff of smoke" when Trooper Darryl Haywood crashed and died behind him Oct 2, 2004, after a high-speed pursuit of a motorcycle on Interstate 4.

Douglas Fowler, 47, was locked up in the same cell block at the Volusia County Branch Jail with Williams, 39, last summer on a parole violation.

Fowler told jurors that Williams shared details with him at the jail about the chase that ended when Haywood's cruiser got a flat tire from metal debris and crashed into a tree.

Haywood, 49, of Palm Coast was killed instantly. Williams faces up to 30 years for each of two first-degree felony charges that accuse him of causing Williams' death.

To prove its case, the state must show Williams acted willfully in fleeing, and acted in a way that showed wreckless disregard for the safety of others.

"The lights came on, so he hit his bike," Fowler said Williams told him. "He put some distance between them, but the trooper was coming hard."

He said Williams told him "he had to prove that he didn't see the trooper," when in fact he said he thought the Florida Highway Patrol trooper had crashed. "He saw a puff of smoke and he knew the trooper had wrecked," Fowler said Williams told him.

Tampa defense lawyer Leon Jones questioned Fowler, who is on parole for a second-degree murder conviction and spent 18 years in prison, about his motive for testifying. "You want us to believe Donald Williams told you these things?" Jones asked.

"It's up to you," Fowler said. "Everything I told you, he said."

The trial resumes Friday in Circuit Judge R. Michael Hutcheson's courtroom and is expected to continue next week.


Jurors to decide if motorcyclist had role in state trooper's death

Published on Wednesday, October 12, 2005
in the Orlando Sentinel

DAYTONA BEACH -- On a Saturday afternoon last year, Ellen Sellers of Oviedo was driving east on Interstate 4 and had passed the DeLand exit when a motorcycle whizzed by, speeding more than 100 mph.

"He was coming up really fast," Sellers said Tuesday in a Daytona Beach courtroom, as she remembered that trip on Oct. 2, 2004.

"I turned to my niece and said, 'Either he is going to kill himself or somebody else.' "

Seconds later, a Florida Highway Patrol car came down the highway in pursuit but ended up crashing into a tree, Sellers remembered. FHP Trooper Darryl Haywood, 49, who also had worked for the New York Police Department, was killed.

This week, the motorcyclist, 39-year-old Donald Williams of Seffner, is on trial to determine if he had a role in the trooper's death.

Williams has been charged with aggravated manslaughter, vehicular homicide and fleeing or attempting to elude a law-enforcement officer for what happened on the highway a year ago.

According to an accident investigation, Haywood had been pursuing a speeding Suzuki motorcycle on the interstate about 1:40 p.m. but couldn't overtake the biker. The right rear tire of his patrol car blew out, causing his car to rear-end another car and spin into a pine tree at the side of the road, the report said.

At the trial's opening, Assistant State Attorney Celeste Gagne told the jury that much of the testimony will come from witnesses to the high-speed pursuit.

"They all heard the siren. They all saw the lights," Gagne said. "They all saw the trooper in close proximity to that motorcycle as that motorcycle was evading him on I-4."

However, Williams' attorney, Leon Jones, cautioned the jury to listen carefully to the upcoming testimony.

"It is a tragedy that Trooper Haywood has died, but the evidence will show a second tragedy will occur if you believe the state's case," Jones said.

"Listen to the things you don't hear. Listen to the things that are inconsistent," he said. "Listen to the facts."

Several witnesses on Tuesday offered similar details of a man on a blue motorcycle, described as a Japanese street bike, speeding down I-4 with a Florida Highway Patrol car following him.

The motorcycle was speeding up to 150 mph as it weaved in and out of traffic, often driving on the center line between cars on the two-lane road, the witnesses said.

Thomas Evanchik, a Port Orange pilot and flight instructor, testified that after the motorcyclist passed him, he could see the man look back. A short time later, the trooper's car came up and ended up crashing into Evanchik's car.

Nancy Petty of Orlando also was driving that day and saw the motorcyclist come up on the emergency lane and cut in front of her.

"I was afraid he was going to come up on the top of my car," she testified. "He was very close."

Petty said she got a decent look at the motorcyclist, remembering the bike's blue color and the man's blue clothing and blue backpack. She also remembered that the motorcycle didn't have a tag.

She passed Haywood's crashed vehicle, then was surprised to see the motorcyclist again as she headed north on I-95.

"That looked exactly like the motorcycle that passed me earlier," she said. "Everything looked the same to me."

According to the investigative report, Williams was arrested at a highway rest stop near St. Augustine by a St. Johns County deputy sheriff who recognized the motorcycle from an alert broadcast on his police radio.

The trial before Circuit Judge R. Michael Hutcheson is scheduled to continue today.


Witnesses provide details in fatal chase

Published on Wednesday, October 12, 2005
in the Daytona Beach News-Journal

DAYTONA BEACH -- The motorcyclist rocketed past her on Interstate 4, Ellen Sellers of Oviedo testified Tuesday -- and in the time it took her to say "he's going to kill himself or someone else" she could see the police cruiser racing up behind her.

In the first day of the trial of Donald Williams, 39, of Seffner, charged with causing the death of a Florida Highway Patrol trooper on Oct. 2, 2004, the prosecution claimed Williams must have known he was being pursued by a police officer.

But Williams' defense attorneys said he had no idea the officer was following him.

Prosecutor Celeste Gagne questioned 10 people who were traveling on the interstate between Deltona and Daytona Beach.

Robert Walter Brown Jr. described a "blue speed bike" that blasted past his car headed east at what he estimated was more than 100 mph.

"He was going right between the cars," he testified.

Shortly after the bike had zipped out of sight, witnesses said, a marked special pursuit cruiser also sped past -- one witness said he could smell burning rubber -- and moments later, they saw smoke and grass flying as Haywood's 2002 Chevy Camaro cruiser lost control, struck an Audi, and slammed into a tree.

According to Gagne, a computer chip taken from the cruiser showed Haywood had reached 130 mph five seconds before the crash.

"It was the defendant's actions that caused this crash," she said in opening statements.

She described the crime scene as a "fluid" four-mile stretch of interstate, "not a bedroom" or other more typical location of a crime.

"He was close enough," Gagne said. "He had to know (Williams) was behind him."

But Tampa defense lawyer Leon Jones asked jurors to "listen to the facts," which he said will prove Williams not guilty of contributing to Haywood's death.

"He did not know he was being chased," Jones said to jurors at the start of the trial. "And he did not look back."

Jones questioned each witness under cross examination about what they saw and heard. Some testified the motorcyclist was wearing a dark, full-face helmet.

Thomas Evanchik, driver of the Audi, testified that after the motorcycle passed him, he saw the motorcyclist's face and saw him look back.

But Jones pointed out that in earlier statements to police, Evanchik wasn't able to say if the motorcyclist had been wearing a helmet.

Evanchik later said when he saw Williams' face in the newspaper the next day, the defendant "looked familiar." The pursuit started shortly after 1 p.m. when a 911 caller reported a blue Suzuki motorcycle and Porsche racing on the interstate.

Haywood tried to catch up with the bike, but before he could reach it, a rear tire on his car blew out, and he swerved and crashed. Haywood, 49, of Palm Coast was killed instantly. The speeding sports car was never found.

According to a police report, after Haywood's death, a trooper spotted a motorcycle on Interstate 95 matching the description given earlier on I-4 and tried to stop it, but the motorcyclist looked at him and fled at more than 150 mph.

Williams was arrested later at a truck stop in St. Johns County when a deputy spotted him trying to fix a flat tire on his blue Suzuki 1300.

Williams, who was charged in both St. Johns and Volusia counties, faces charges of aggravated manslaughter, vehicular homicide and fleeing or attempting to elude in connection with Haywood's death.

Williams, who appeared stoic throughout the first day of testimony in a dark suit, remains held at the Volusia County Branch Jail. The trial is expected to continue until next week.


Trial set to open today in trooper's death

Published on Tuesday, October 11, 2005
in the Daytona Beach News-Journal

DAYTONA BEACH -- The trial of a 39-year-old Seffner man accused of speeding and contributing to the October 2004 death of a Florida Highway Patrol trooper is expected to begin today.

Donald Williams, who remains held at the Volusia County Branch Jail, is charged with aggravated manslaughter, vehicular homicide and fleeing or attempting to elude in connection with the Oct. 2 crash on Interstate 4 in which Trooper Darryl Haywood died.

Haywood, 49, of Palm Coast was killed when a tire blew out on his cruiser as he pursued a motorcycle racing east at high speeds on the interstate between DeLand and Daytona Beach, authorities said.

A jury was picked Monday in Circuit Judge R. Michael Hutcheson's courtroom. The trial, which is expected to take more than a week, is scheduled to begin with opening arguments today.


Jurors picked in case of FHP trooper's death

Published on Tuesday, October 11, 2005
in the Orlando Sentinel

DAYTONA BEACH -- Nine Volusia residents were chosen Monday as jurors for the vehicular-homicide trial of a Tampa-area man accused in the fatal crash of a Florida Highway Patrol trooper.

Donald Williams, 39, of Seffner, has been charged with aggravated manslaughter, vehicular homicide and fleeing or attempting to elude a law-enforcement officer. The trial before Circuit Judge R. Michael Hutcheson is expected to last about seven days.

Williams, who was driving a 1999 blue Suzuki motorcycle, is accused of driving recklessly on Oct. 2, 2004, on Interstate 4, causing the crash that killed Trooper Darryl Haywood.


Deadly Police Pursuit Trial Starts Today

Published on Monday, October 10, 2005
in the WESH News

A trial involving a police pursuit gets under way in Volusia County Monday.

Donald Williams is charged with vehicular homicide, aggravated manslaughter and attempting to flee from police for an accident last October, WESH 2 News reported.

Police said Williams was on a motorcycle trying to avoid Florida Highway Patrol trooper Darryl Haywood, but as Haywood got close, one of his tires blew out and he lost control.

Haywood crashed into a tree and died. Williams was later arrested. Investigators said he was going more than 150 mph.

Jury selection is under way, and if a jury is seated on Monday, opening arguments could begin as soon as Tuesday.

Also Monday, attorneys discussed crash-site photographs that the defense does not want jurors to see. The public defender's office also brought a suit in for Williams so that potential jurors won't see him in his jail jumpsuit.


Trial in trooper's death scheduled

Published on Saturday, October 8, 2005
in the Daytona Beach News-Journal

DAYTONA BEACH -- The trial of a 39-year-old Seffner man accused of speeding and contributing to the October 2004 death of a Florida Highway Patrol trooper is expected to begin next week.

Donald Williams, who remains held at the Volusia County Branch Jail, is charged with aggravated manslaughter, vehicular homicide and fleeing or attempting to elude in connection with the Oct. 2 crash on Interstate 4 in which trooper Darryl Haywood died.

Authorities say Haywood, 49, of Palm Coast, was killed when a tire blew out on his cruiser as he pursued a motorcycle racing east at high speeds on the interstate between DeLand and Daytona Beach.

Jury selection is expected to begin Monday in Circuit Judge R. Michael Hutcheson's courtroom.


Police have no tips about New Smyrna cop's death

Published on Friday, August 19, 2005
in the Orlando Sentinel

The first New Smyrna Beach police officer to die in the line of duty will be buried today, but investigators are no closer to knowing who drove the white truck that caused Officer Roy L. Nelson Jr. to swerve into a guardrail.

And the odds are that person will never be found, investigators said Thursday.

"We have had no tips called in to us," Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Kim Miller said. "We have nowhere to go."

This is the second time in 11 months a Volusia law-enforcement officer has died in a crash blamed on an unknown driver. In October, FHP Trooper Darryl Haywood died trying to overtake a motorcycle and a Porsche racing along Interstate 4. The driver of the Porsche has never been found.

Such crashes, in which drivers flee the scene, are the hardest to solve for investigators -- and are becoming increasingly common. Troopers are called to more than two dozen on a daily basis in Central Florida.

In both of the crashes that killed the Volusia officers, no one got the tag numbers of the fleeing vehicles, and there was no damage left at the scene -- which lowers the likelihood of their being solved to about 10 percent, Miller said.

When witnesses grab that critical tag number, the chance of solving the case jumps to nearly 95 percent, she said.

Nelson, 36, and his K-9 partner Ceasar died late Saturday while responding to a burglary call. A witness said a white truck, possibly a Ford F-150, pulled in front of Nelson's patrol car, causing him to swerve and hit a guardrail on the South Causeway on State Road A1A. Nelson, who leaves behind a wife and two daughters, and Ceasar died at the scene.

In the days after the crash, troopers tracked down white trucks that travel in and out of the Bouchelle Island area. They've been able to rule out drivers in the area, but that's it, Miller said.

"We don't even know what we're looking for," she said.

That's why leads from the public are so crucial in these crashes, officials say.

A confidential tip gave sheriff's investigators the break they needed to find a fleeing driver in a fatal October crash on U.S. Highway 92 near DeLand. At first, deputies thought just two cars were involved in the collision in which 74-year-old Hans Geuss veered across the highway and struck an eastbound vehicle. Geuss' vehicle flipped and came to rest upside down in water near the highway. He died at the scene.

Deputies found debris from a possible third car, but it was a tip from a caller to Crime Stoppers the day after the crash that led investigators to a white van that had fresh damage matching the paint on Geuss' vehicle, Volusia Sheriff's Office spokesman Gary Davidson said.

"Without a tipster or witness coming forward, it would have been very difficult to solve the case," he said.

In Palm Bay, officers struggling for 11 months to find who struck a 74-year-old pedestrian, hurling him 50 feet, may have stumbled upon a lucky break.

Police spokeswoman Yvonne Martinez said officers weren't receiving much useful information about the crash that killed William Finney on his early-morning walk except that witnesses saw a blue pickup at the scene. But officers recently recovered a blue Dodge Ram truck with front-end damage in an unrelated shoplifting case.

Martinez said the damage is like what would be caused by hitting a person, and officers are testing the vehicle to compare it with paint fragments found on the victim's clothing.

"We don't know if that's the vehicle, but it's certainly a lead," she said. "We need witnesses to come forward" and identify the vehicle.

Witnesses said the driver got out of his truck, looked at Finney's dying body and fled. Finney's daughter blames the unidentified man not only for the death of her father, but also of her mother, who died in her sleep weeks later of heartbreak, the daughter said.

Miller, the FHP spokeswoman, said it was luck that hours after Haywood, 49, died, troopers caught up with the man driving the speeding motorcycle.

Donald Williams, 38, of Seffner was charged in the Volusia County crash with aggravated manslaughter, vehicular homicide and fleeing or attempting to elude a law-enforcement officer, and he faces additional charges in St. Johns County of aggravated fleeing and eluding.

But Miller said time is working against investigators looking for the Porsche that was racing the motorcycle.

"The longer we go without any tips or leads, the less optimistic we are about finding the vehicle," Miller said.

In Nelson's case, troopers expect to release a preliminary report today on the crash, which could determine how fast he was driving in the 50-mph zone and whether he was wearing a seat belt.

In the meantime, Miller is still optimistic someone will come forward with information about the driver of the truck. She suspects the person is local and perhaps someone will be influenced by all the media attention.

"We've had cases before where we had nothing," she said. "We're just looking for a white truck."


State honors fallen law officers

Published on Tuesday, May 10, 2005
in the Daytona Beach News-Journal

TALLAHASSEE -- It was a tough year for law enforcement officers in Volusia County.

Two officers -- Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Darryl Haywood and Ormond Beach Police Officer Bob Grim -- died on duty in 2004 in traffic-related incidents on the county's roads.

But their deaths were not forgotten.

State leaders and hundreds of police officers and family members gathered at the Capitol on Monday to honor the sacrifices of Haywood, Grim and 11 other law-enforcement officers killed in Florida last year.

During a solemn ceremony, with the wailing sounds of bagpipes playing "Amazing Grace," Gov. Jeb Bush said keeping the public safe comes at an "extremely high price."

Also, Bush said he would sign a bill, passed by lawmakers last week, that would increase benefits for families of officers who are killed at traffic-accident scenes or while enforcing traffic laws.

The Volusia County deaths came little more than a month apart last fall. Grim's death also marked the first time an Ormond Beach officer had been killed in the line of duty.

Haywood, 49, who lived in Palm Coast, was killed Oct. 2 during an accident while chasing a speeding motorcyclist on Interstate 4 near DeLand. Grim, 60, died Nov. 12 when he was struck by a car while investigating an accident at the intersection of North Nova Road and Wilmette Avenue.

Along with the ceremony Monday, Haywood and Grim also were honored in a bill that passed the Legislature last week.

That bill will give Nova Road, between Granada Boulevard and U.S. 1, the honorary designation "Robert F. Grim Sr. Memorial Parkway." It will give a stretch of I-4, near mile marker 123, the designation "Trooper Darryl Haywood Highway."

The bill also designates part of Nova Road, between International Speedway Boulevard and George W. Ingram Boulevard, as "David Hinson Parkway" in honor of a longtime Volusia County educator who died in an August 2003 car crash. And it would designate part of International Speedway Boulevard, between Nova Road and Beach Street, as "Charles W. Cherry Sr. Parkway" in honor of the former Daytona Beach city commissioner and civil rights leader, who died in November.


State police pay puts public at risk

Published on Wednesday, April 27, 2005
in the Panama City News Herald

Florida faces a silent law enforcement crisis — one that could affect our roads, our natural resources and our institutions.

This crisis is the result of glaring pay inequities that damage morale and dramatically thin the ranks of state-employed officers.

The problem is called “pay compression.” It’s what happens when starting salaries are raised without a plan in place for also increasing the pay for veteran officers.

Unlike city, county and even federal law enforcement entities, the state does not have an established pay schedule for its officers, so veterans with 10 or more years of experience make nearly the same as entry-level officers.

Low morale and low pay for veterans make state officers ripe for recruitment from municipal law enforcement, which saves a bundle of money — between $60,000 and $80,000 per hire — that would have been spent training recruits. That’s probably why cities and counties can afford to pay officers between 20 and even 80 percent more than they would make with the state.

The best example of how this situation is putting our citizens at risk is the high turnover rates experienced by the Florida Highway Patrol. Today, there are 160 vacancies at the FHP. It’s not that we have trouble filling new positions — it’s that we have trouble retaining experienced officers.

In Manatee County, for example, the local sheriff’s department has been forced to help investigate traffic crashes because there are not enough FHP officers to adequately do the job. Most startling of all, there are fewer than 100 troopers in Miami; in 1986, there were about 240!

The same pay disparity exists for other stateemployed law enforcement officers. These are the men and women who protect our food supply, handle our state’s most dangerous youth, and protect our wildlife from poachers. They deserve better.

It has been easy for lawmakers to overlook our state officers; “state worker” is almost a dirty word in the halls of the Capitol. That has made it politically convenient in the past to ignore these officers and their grievances.

I’m here to tell you we are proud to work for the state of Florida, and we’re tired of being ignored. While we might pay a price for speaking up, we do so because Florida’s citizens and tourists depend on us, and we won’t let them down.

Maybe one reason state law enforcement officers often are taken for granted is because people — including lawmakers — don’t realize that we are sworn officers with arrest power, who train side-by-side with municipal officers. They don’t understand the sacrifices of our colleagues such as FHP Trooper Darryl Lewis Haywood, who gave his life on I-4 in Volusia County while trying to apprehend a reckless driver. They don’t appreciate the work of Brett Starling and John Brechler, two Department of Environmental Protection officers in St. John’s County who in August arrested a man police now say is a serial rapist with more than 20 charges pending against him.

Your state law enforcement officers are people like Detective Greg Gilkey with the State Fire Marshall’s Office in St. Lucie County. Detective Gilkey led a multi-agency investigation that ended in the capture and confession of a serial arsonist who confessed to setting 32 fires.

We are people like Department of Juvenile Justice Youth Custody Officer Andrew Gluck, who, in a recent three-week period in Palm Beach County made 30 arrests and served 48 pickup orders and war rants, for a total of 31 felony counts and 26 mis demeanor counts.

We are worthy of respect and reward for the work we do to protect our citizens and tourists. Yet there are some state officers who require public assistance because they cannot make ends meet with their salaries and the cost of living. This is a slap in the face for those who put their lives on the line to protect and serve.

Fortunately, Gov. Jeb Bush has included funding for FHP raises in his budget recommendations, and the International Union of Police Associations (IUPA), the union that represents state law enforcement, fully supports his efforts. IUPA will work with the legislature to take that recommendation one step further and make sure all state law enforcement officers get their due.

With dramatic increases in the state’s population, state law enforcement faces growing demands. In a post 9-11 world, lawmakers must recognize and reward state law enforcement officers whose work is essential, but too often unnoticed.

The writer is an officer with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission.


Report: 12 Florida Officers Die In Line Of Duty In 2004

Published on Wednesday, December 29, 2004
in the News 4 Jax

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Twelve members of Florida law enforcement agencies died in the line of duty this year, including nine who died in traffic accidents, a study found.

Two other officers belonging to state, county and city law enforcement bodies in Florida were shot to death -- the same number as last year -- and one officer suffered a fatal heart attack, according to the study released Tuesday by The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund and Concerns of Police Survivors.

The 12 deaths were up from seven in 2003. Nationally, 154 officers died in the line of duty in 2004, with 72 of them killed in traffic-related accidents.

The two Florida officers who were fatally shot in the line of duty were Broward sheriff's Deputy Todd Fatta, 33, who died in October, and Marion County sheriff's Deputy Brian Robert Litz, 36, killed in February.

Two northeast Florida troopers with the Florida Highway Patrol died while pursuing suspects.

Sgt. George "Andy" Brown III died April 27 after losing control of his cruiser while trying to stop another vehicle about six miles south of Lake City.

That vehicle was stopped later that day in south Citrus County after a two-county chase and the Naples couple inside was arrested.

Trooper Darryl L. Haywood, 49, of Palm Coast, died Oct. 2 after hitting a tree along Interstate 4 in Volusia County. Haywood was trying to stop a high-speed race between a Suzuki motorcycle and a Porsche when investigators believe the tread separated on a tire and Haywood lost control of the vehicle.

That motorcyclist was later stopped on I-95 in St. Johns County Jail and charged with aggravated fleeing and eluding charge police.

Lt. George Hura Jr., 56, of the Escambia County Sheriff's Office, died in May during a training exercise in the Panhandle.

A 13th officer to die in Florida this year, U.S. Secret Service agent Phillip Lebid, 30, was killed in a traffic accident in Tampa in November.

The statistics for 2004 were compiled from reports through Dec. 24.


For cops, traffic accidents deadlier than guns

Published on Wednesday, December 29, 2004
in the Orlando Sentinel

Traffic accidents are claiming a growing number of U.S. law-enforcement officers' lives each year, especially in Florida, even as the number of officers shot to death declines, a new study has found.

So far this year, 154 law-enforcement officers have died in the line of duty, slightly below the average for the past 10 years, according to a report released Tuesday by two nonprofit law-enforcement support organizations.

But 72 of those deaths were attributed to traffic accidents, compared with 57 officers who died from shootings. The others died of various causes, from aircraft accidents to job-related illnesses.

In Florida, traffic claimed an even larger share of officer deaths.

Twelve state and local officers died in Florida this year, up from seven in 2003. Nine of the 12 died in vehicle accidents. And a 13th officer to die in Florida this year, a U.S. Secret Service agent, also was killed in a traffic accident. Two Florida officers were shot to death this year, the same number as the previous year.

"The larger proportion of deaths from traffic accidents is the big trend we've seen over the past several years," said Chris Beakey, a spokesman for the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, which prepared the study with the organization Concerns of Police Survivors.

Beakey said wider use by law officers of bulletproof vests and improved training have helped reduce the number of fatal shootings of officers. The organization is advocating better driver training and safer vehicles to cut the number of traffic-accident fatalities.

The memorial fund's report concludes the 154 deaths this year are slightly below the 10-year-average of 164 deaths per year.

Because of different methodology, the deaths reported by the memorial fund don't match those of the detailed annual report by the FBI, which is considered the definitive word on U.S. police-officer deaths.

But the FBI statistics also have shown a rising proportion of accidental deaths among officers. The FBI report for 2004 police deaths won't be released until late next year.

The memorial fund's report lists only two Florida officers who were fatally shot in the line of duty this year. They were deputy sheriffs in Marion and Broward counties. Another deputy sheriff in the Panhandle suffered a fatal heart attack during a training exercise.

The nine Florida officers to die in traffic accidents this year include three Central Florida officers who died within a six-week stretch.

In October, Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Darryl Haywood died in a crash while trying to catch a speeding car and motorcycle on Interstate 4 near DeLand. Six days later, Brevard County Sheriff's Agent Lucille Ross died in a crash on I-95 while rushing to a crime scene. In November, Ormond Beach police Officer Robert Grim was fatally injured when struck by a vehicle while investigating a traffic accident.

Haywood was one of two FHP troopers to die in traffic accidents this year.

The patrol has worked for years to improve safety for troopers, said Lt. Col. Ken Howse, a spokesman for the FHP. After a fatal crash involving a trooper several years ago, the patrol worked with automakers to make patrol vehicles safer, he said, and troopers take special driver-training classes.

"We're looking now at possibly adding fire-suppression systems to patrol cars, side-impact air bags, all sorts of things," Howse said.

But the highways remain a dangerous place for officers.

"Our troopers patrol 37 million miles every year, so there are going to be accidents, no matter how careful you are," Howse said.

Most unnerving for officers are the drivers who seem to pay no heed to officers' emergency lights, Howse said.

"I was talking not 30 minutes ago to an officer who had somebody stopped to write a ticket on Interstate 10," Howse said. "He said a motor home came by and probably missed his patrol car by a foot. Some people, they just aren't paying attention."


500 ride for fallen officers' families

The 8th Tour de Force raises money during the deadliest year for police since 1998.

Published on Saturday, December 11, 2004
in the Orlando Sentinel

DAYTONA BEACH SHORES -- They rode in Friday a little wet, a little sore, a little tired.

But all of the cyclists who pedaled into the Daytona Beach Shores Department of Public Safety parking lot as part of a charity bike ride smiled as they congratulated one another on a job well-done on behalf of fallen colleagues.

Organizers estimate about 500 officers and support staff participated in some part of the five-day, 270-mile trek known as the Tour de Force. The annual charity ride, which is in its eighth year, raises money for the spouses and children of officers who have died in the line of duty. Participants hoped to raise about $10,000 this year.

Twelve officers have died in the line of duty statewide so far this year, making it the deadliest year since 1998. Three officers were from Central Florida.

"It's been a tough year for law enforcement," said ride coordinator Mike DeMarcus, a detective with the North Miami Beach Police Department. His department lost the first officer in its history in July.

This year, at least two dozen cyclists completed the entire ride, which ran from North Miami Beach to Daytona Beach Shores, where it ended Friday.

Palm Bay police Lt. Dave Crispin has ridden in part of every Tour de Force since it began and biked the entire route this year. He cycled in honor of Brevard Deputy Sheriff Lucille "Lucy" Ross.

"She was a mother and a wife," he said of the woman he knew for the past decade. "Every time we lose an officer . . . it's hard."

Ross died in a car accident while headed to the scene of a suicide. Seven of the 11 other officers -- including Ormond Beach police Officer Robert "Bob" Grim Sr. -- died because of a vehicular accident, assault or pursuit.

Some cyclists had the potential danger in mind as they took to some of Florida's busiest roads this week; two were injured in falls during the ride.

But all said they weren't deterred by the danger posed by passing motorists.

"You have to do things you have to do," said Lt. Tony Bartolome, with the Florida Highway Patrol in Orlando. "It [the ride] is something that we believe in, and we need to raise funds for these families."

Even Bruce Doras, who was injured earlier this year in a cycling accident, couldn't stay away. This year, the FHP lieutenant from Hillsborough County rode with a broken left arm -- a remnant of the fall that left him in intensive care for five days. Doras is the only person to have completed all eight rides since the 1997 inception of the Tour de Force, which started to honor fallen FHP Trooper Robert Smith, who was killed by a drunken driver in Miami.

"I definitely didn't want to miss this year because we were riding for two Florida Highway Patrol troopers who were killed," he said. One of those troopers was Darryl Haywood, who worked in Volusia County; he died while trying to catch a speeding motorist.

"As long as I'm able, I'm definitely going to be involved," Doras said. Then he looked at his arm. "As long as I'm able to pedal," he added.


Family of killed trooper denied access to patrol car

Published on Wednesday, December 1, 2004
in the Daytona Beach News-Journal

DAYTONA BEACH -- A judge on Tuesday dismissed a civil action filed by the widow of a Florida Highway Patrol trooper killed while trying to apprehend a speeding motorcyclist.

The petition filed on behalf of Linda S. Haywood in circuit court Nov. 9 sought a court order allowing her attorneys to inspect the cruiser Trooper Darryl Haywood was driving when he crashed and died Oct. 2 on Interstate 4.

According to the petition, the FHP has kept the cruiser impounded since Haywood's death and has refused Haywood's representatives a chance to inspect the vehicle and a rear tire. The tire either blew or came apart before Haywood collided with another car and hit a tree, officials say.

Circuit Judge John W. Watson III dismissed the petition without prejudice and Haywood's attorneys have 20 days to file an amended petition.

The accused motorcyclist, Donald Williams, 39, faces charges in Volusia and St. Johns counties.


High bail set for biker held in chase death

Published on Tuesday, November 30, 2004
in the Daytona Beach News-Journal

DAYTONA BEACH -- A motorcyclist accused of speeding and contributing to the death of a Florida Highway Patrol trooper who wrecked his cruiser while trying to catch him will be held until he can post $300,000 bail in Volusia County, a judge said Monday.

Donald Williams, 38, of Seffner, is being held at the St. Johns County Jail on $150,000 bail. Williams, who faces three criminal charges in Volusia County, has been held in St. John's County since his arrest there on a charge of felony aggravated fleeing and eluding.

Williams is accused of contributing to the Oct. 2 crash on Interstate 4 in which trooper Darryl Haywood died. Authorities say Haywood was killed when a tire blew out as he pursued a motorcycle racing east at high speeds on the interstate between DeLand and Daytona Beach.

In Volusia County, Williams faces charges of aggravated manslaughter, vehicular homicide and attempting to elude a police officer. During a bond hearing Monday before Circuit Judge R. Michael Hutcheson, Williams' attorney, Leon Jones of Tampa, asked for bail to be set at less than $250,000.

He described Williams as a father and a Gulf War veteran with no criminal record. However, prosecutor Celeste Gagne expressed concerns that Williams might leave the jurisdiction if bail wasn't at least $250,000, saying Williams has "insufficient ties to Volusia County."

Jones said Williams will have to post bail in both counties before he can be released. The criminal trial could start in January, according to court records.


Man faces 3 charges in deadly I-4 chase

A trooper's tire blew out while he was pursuing a speeding motorcyclist Oct. 2.

Published on Tuesday, November 2, 2004
in the Orlando Sentinel

DAYTONA BEACH -- A Tampa-area man was charged Monday with three felonies, including aggravated manslaughter and vehicular homicide, in connection with a traffic crash on Interstate 4 that killed a Florida Highway Patrol trooper last month.

Donald Williams, 38, of Seffner also was charged with fleeing or attempting to elude a law-enforcement officer in the Oct. 2 crash that killed Trooper Darryl Haywood. The office of State Attorney John Tanner, in the 7th Judicial Circuit, filed the charges Monday.

Williams, who has been in the St. Johns County jail since the fatal crash, has already been charged with a felony count of aggravated fleeing and eluding for a separate pursuit on I-95 that ended in that county. His attorney, Leon H. Jones of Tampa, could not be reached for comment Monday.

Prosecutors filed the new charges, alleging that Williams drove recklessly during the incident, which caused Haywood's fatal crash, according to the court documents.

On Oct. 2, Williams, who was driving a 1999 blue Suzuki motorcycle, and an unknown driver in a Porsche were speeding in the eastbound lanes of Interstate 4 just before 2 p.m., weaving in and out of traffic, according to investigative reports.

After hearing radio announcements about the two speeding vehicles, Haywood, 49, a four-year veteran of the FHP and a retired New York City homicide detective, spotted them on the highway near DeLand and tried to overtake them, according to reports.

Williams later admitted to investigators that he drove his already-speeding motorcycle even faster after spotting the trooper, according to an investigative report.

Before Haywood could overtake Williams' motorcycle, the patrol car had a tire blow out, causing the trooper to lose control of his vehicle and crash into a tree, the reports said.

At about 2:20 p.m., FHP Trooper Philip Delgado spotted Williams' motorcycle in St. Johns County, traveling north on I-95. Delgado tried to stop the motorcycle, but the Suzuki fled the trooper by driving more than 150 mph, according to reports.

Williams was spotted at a highway truck stop with a flat rear tire and was placed under arrest, the reports said.

The driver of the Porsche has never been identified, said Trooper Kim Miller, an FHP spokeswoman.


Motorcyclist charged in trooper's death

Published on Tuesday, November 2, 2004
in the Daytona Beach News-Journal

DAYTONA BEACH -- A motorcyclist accused of speeding and causing the death of a Florida Highway Patrol trooper who wrecked his cruiser in an attempt to catch him was formally charged Monday by the State Attorney's Office.

The charges lodged against Donald Williams include aggravated manslaughter, vehicular homicide and fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer. Williams, 39, is from Seffner, near Tampa.

Trooper Darryl Haywood of Palm Coast was killed Oct. 2 minutes after he spotted Williams racing east on Interstate 4 between DeLand and Daytona Beach, FHP officials said.

After seeing the motorcyclist, Haywood, who was heading west on I-4, turned around and tried to catch up to Williams, but his patrol car collided with another automobile after the right rear tire either blew or came apart, and the vehicle skidded off the highway into a tree.

Haywood, 49, joined the Florida Highway Patrol in March 2000 after serving with the New York City Police Department for 20 years.

Williams has been held without bail since Oct. 2 at the St. Johns County Detention Center in St. Augustine.


High-speed tragedy

Published on Saturday, October 9, 2004
in the Orlando Sentinel

Our position: A tougher policy on police pursuits could protect public and troopers.

The tragic death of Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Darryl L. Haywood is a grim reminder of why police agencies need clear policies for pursuit and high-speed driving.

Those policies are critical to protect not only the public but the law-enforcement officers as well.

The circumstances of Mr. Haywood's death, though, raise questions regarding the clarity of FHP's pursuit policy. That policy prohibits troopers from chasing unless the suspect vehicle was involved in a "crime of violence." Mr. Haywood was trying to stop a motorcyclist clocked at 150 mph on Interstate 4 in Volusia County.

Yet FHP officials said that Mr. Haywood, who was traveling at 100 mph when he crashed, did nothing wrong -- even though the motorcyclist was not a suspect in a violent crime. They said Mr. Haywood was trying to "overtake" the suspect to stop him and that means he was not engaged in a chase.

That doesn't make a lot of sense. The goal is to reduce incidents when troopers are driving at extreme speeds so it shouldn't matter whether it's in a "chase" or an "overtaking." For all practical purposes, they are the same thing.

Also, if the FHP is serious about limiting high-speed pursuits, then why has it given some troopers -- including Mr. Haywood -- Camaros, a classic muscle car? Doesn't that encourage driving at extreme speeds? Indeed, Mr. Haywood is the second trooper driving a Camaro to die in a crash.

A thorough investigation and thoughtful policy changes are the best tributes the FHP can pay to Mr. Haywood.


Trooper has final sendoff

Darryl Haywood's family gave him a reason to smile, says a speaker at the Daytona Beach service.

Published on Friday, October 8, 2004
in the Orlando Sentinel

DAYTONA BEACH -- As the dispatcher's voice quivered, more than 1,000 mourners stood silent as Haywood was given his last call, a tradition for fallen police officers that signifies they're no longer in service.

Only the sound of a woman sobbing and the hum of hovering news helicopters could be heard before and after the final dispatch.

The 49-year-old trooper, who was killed Saturday while trying to "overtake," or catch up to, a speeding motorcyclist, was remembered Thursday as a man who was fiercely dedicated to his family, his friends and his faith. And he was also a man rarely seen without a smile, a friend told those gathered at the Ocean Center in Daytona Beach for a morning service, which included a vehicle procession that took more than 30 minutes to complete.

"Every time you would see Darryl he would have that smile," FHP Lt. Kevin Vaughn said. "That smile was put there by his family."

Vaughn said it was also clear that Haywood was madly in love with his wife, Linda, whom he described as Haywood's "soul mate and partner for life." He was also well known for his dedication to his children, Darryl Jr. and Erica, Vaughn said. But the girl who often took center stage in Haywood's world was his granddaughter, Chloe, the lieutenant said.

"Every day with Chloe was a happy day for him," Vaughn said.

James Reese Jr., a cousin of Haywood's who spoke on behalf of the family during the emotional service, said the world benefited from Haywood having been in it and needed more men like him.

"If we were all like Darryl the world would be a better place," Reese said.

FHP Col. Christopher Knight recalled Haywood as being a standout trooper who would always be remembered for his professionalism and dedication.

"He was a good man and a good trooper," the highway patrol commander said simply.

Others also recalled Haywood's incredible dedication to service, saying that he was so driven "to protect and serve" that he joined the Florida Highway Patrol just months after finishing a 20-year career with the New York City Police Department.

"Florida had Darryl for four years, we had him for 20," Lt. Carl Daniel, a New York police officer and friend of Haywood's said after the service.

Daniel said those who knew Haywood well shouldn't have been surprised when he joined the highway patrol.

"Darryl said back in the '80s, 'When I retire, I'm going to go to Florida and work for the Florida Highway Patrol,'" Daniel recalled with a soft smile. That was just the kind of guy Haywood was, Daniel said.

After a 21-gun salute in honor of Haywood, troopers presented his wife with the American flag that had draped his coffin.

Through a family spokeswoman, the Haywoods thanked the highway patrol and other local agencies for the assistance the family has been given since Darryl Haywood's death. They asked that the community keep the family in their thoughts and prayers and continue to respect their privacy.

Haywood is the 39th Florida trooper to be killed in the line of duty.


Friends, family salute fallen trooper

Published on Friday, October 8, 2004
in the Daytona Beach News-Journal

DAYTONA BEACH -- Sirens were music to Trooper Darryl Haywood.

As a little boy, he could identify the firetrucks and police cruisers that rolled through his New York City neighborhood by the sound of their sirens.

Thursday morning, it was the wail of bagpipes that marked the end of Haywood's 24-year police career.

When Haywood joined the New York City Police Department as a patrolman in 1979, he had found his lifelong profession. After 20 years as a New York officer, he joined the Florida Highway Patrol in March 2000.

"Everybody knows you do not get rich being a public servant," said James Sharpe III, speaking at his brother-in-law's funeral Thursday at the Ocean Center. "He decided not to get rich twice."

More than 2,500 people attended the services. Honoring Haywood were law enforcement officers from all over Florida, as well as California, Ohio, New York, Georgia and Alabama. They followed Haywood's coffin into the Ocean Center accompanied by the solemn crooning of two bagpipers. When the bagpipes fell silent, the tapping of boots continued as uniformed officers marched to their seats.

In the silence, an American flag floating above the trooper carrying it momentarily seemed to droop in sorrow.

Col. Christopher Knight, director of the Florida Highway Patrol, said Haywood's professionalism and dedication would stay in the minds of those who had worked with him.

But Lt. John Borzner, who retired a month ago and had supervised Haywood, said he will remember the trooper's incomparable positive energy. Haywood would turn in his reports with a familiar comment -- "here it is, mistake-free as usual" -- and hurry out the door, Borzner said.

When Haywood heard an alert about a speeding motorcyclist Saturday, "he was at the end of his shift, but he was still out there pounding the road," he said.

Haywood died a short time later when the right rear tire of his patrol car separated as he attempted to catch the motorcycle, catapulting the 2002 Chevy Camaro into a tree off Interstate 4.

Bornzer believes Haywood was thinking about the public he served and worked to protect, even in the last moments of his life.

"He probably knew he was in for the ride when his tire separated," Borzner said, "and even though he was barely in control, he probably kept that car going on the grass."

"He knew very well what happens when you cross the median."

Residents were awed by the hundreds of cars that streamed out of Daytona International Speedway to merge with a procession from Palm Coast, Haywood's hometown.

Pam DeWit and Mike Sutherland, visiting from Louisville, Ky., said the funeral will be the most memorable moment of their trip. For them it all started Saturday when they saw lots of patrol cars at the truck stop near St. Augustine where the suspected speeder, Donald Williams, 39, of Seffner was arrested. The FHP believes Williams is the motorcyclist who escaped from Haywood.

"It was a pretty sad occasion but we felt a part of it being there," said DeWitt as she watched the funeral procession by the Ocean Walk on Atlantic Avenue. "It was a pretty awesome sight."

That strong character will continue shining in Haywood's son, Darryl Jr., 19. He turned in his application to become a trooper on Friday, the day before his father was killed in the accident, FHP spokeswoman Trooper Kim Miller said.

"I asked at the funeral if he was going to pull out his application but he responded that he would go ahead and become a trooper," Miller said.

Haywood's final tribute began with a flyover. An FHP single-engine fixed-wing airplane, used to patrol highways, and two sheriff's helicopters flew over after a 21-gun salute.

Then the bagpipes playing "Amazing Grace" fell silent for a second time. A send-off to Haywood was done with one last call from an emotional dispatcher. A tone came over a Chevy Camaro's radio and then a final message:

"Orlando 1296, Orlando 1296, Orlando 1296."

"Attention all units, Trooper Darryl Louis Haywood of the Florida Highway Patrol ID #1296 is 10-7 from service. May he rest in peace."


Memorial Service Held For Trooper Killed In Crash On I-4

Published on Thursday, October 7, 2004
in the WFTV News

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- A memorial service was held Thursday in Daytona Beach for a state trooper who was killed in the line of duty. Law enforcement officers from across the state lined the streets in a procession to the Ocean Center, where they paid their respects to Trooper Darryl Haywood, who died Saturday in a crash along I-4 in DeLand.

More than 2,000 officers packed into the Ocean Center to pay their last respects to Trooper Haywood. They were from all over the state and all over the country. Thursday was their last chance to say goodbye to a friend.

It's only fitting that the procession stretched for miles, the casket was marched in like a hero, and the memorial was packed with officers of every patch and every stripe. It was only fitting for a man who touched so many lives.

According to those who knew him, Trooper Haywood was a very good friend to have. His 6-foot-five-inch frame was imposing. But his smile, say many, always let you know he was one of the good guys.

He served 20 years with the New York Police Department. He retired, but then joined up with the Florida Highway Patrol. Some say he missed the job; others say he was born to serve.

Trooper Haywood's badge and cruiser number will be retired forever. His body was escorted back to Palm Coast, where he will be laid to rest.


Hundreds Gather To Honor Trooper

Published on Thursday, October 7, 2004
in the WESH News

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Hundreds of mourners attended a service Thursday to pay respects to Trooper Darryl Haywood, who was killed Saturday in a crash on Interstate 4.

The service was held at the Ocean Center in Daytona Beach, and was open to the public, WESH NewsChannel 2 reported.

A private service was held Wednesday night for friends and colleagues.

Beginning at dawn, hundreds of troopers from as far as way as New York gathered along International Speedway Boulevard. The police officers, which included jurisdictions from all over the state and Georgia, then traveled to the Ocean Center together. After the service, there was a flyover with aircraft from the Florida Highway Patrol and a 21-gun salute. There was also an emtional ending with a final police radio call retiring Haywood's ID number, 1296.

The service focused on Haywood's life and dedication to law enforcement. He served 20 years with the New York Police Department and four years in Volusia County with the Florida Highway Patrol. In July, he was honored as trooper of the month for saving someone from a burning car.

Friends and family described Haywood as a soft-spoken man and a hero everyone can learn from.

Haywood died Saturday in a crash in Volusia County while chasing a man on a motorcycle who allegedly was involved in a street race with a black Porsche. The motorcycle driver, Donald Williams, was arrested in St. Augustine and charged with fleeing the scene and reckless driving. Investigators are still searching for the driver of the car. Anyone with information is asked to call the Florida Highway Patrol.

Haywood is survived by his wife, two children, a grandchild and many friends in the law enforcement community. Haywood is the 39 Florida State Trooper to be killed in the line of duty since 1941. He had driven FHP's high performance Camaros for two years before his fatal crash, and he was considered an expert driver with several years of work experience and training.


Remembering Fallen FHP Trooper

Published on Thursday, October 7, 2004
in the First Coast News

ORLANDO, FL -- A Florida community is saying goodbye to a Highway Patrol trooper killed in the line of duty.

"We will miss Darryl," said an officer at the memorial. "We will miss him as a community, but most of all, we will miss him as a friend."

Troopers honored Darryl Haywood with a motorcycle procession Thursday. Friends carried his coffin draped in an American flag.

Haywood was killed last weekend when his tire exploded during a motorcycle chase.


Thousands Honor Trooper Killed In Volusia Wreck

Published on Thursday, October 7, 2004
in the Local 6 News

More than 2,000 family, friends and law enforcement officers honored a Florida Highway Patrol trooper who was killed in the line of duty this week, according to Local 6 News.

Officials said a tire on trooper Darryl Haywood's Camaro separated from the rim while Haywood was traveling more than 100 mph on Saturday in Volusia County.

Haywood lost control, crashed and died on the scene.

Haywood was trying to stop a street race on Interstate 4 between a motorcycle and a Porsche.

The motorcyclist was arrested in St. Johns County but the search continues for the driver of the Porsche.

Haywood is the 39th Florida Highway Patrol trooper to die in the line of duty, Local 6 News reported. He spent four years on the highway patrol -- after retiring with 20 years of service on the New York police department.

He was also named Trooper of the Month in July for pulling a motorist from a burning vehicle.

Haywood is survived by his wife, two children and one grandchild

The funeral takes place Thursday morning at the Ocean Center in Daytona Beach. Public viewing begins at 10 a.m. and the memorial follows at 10:30 a.m.


Memorial for trooper today in Daytona

Published on Thursday, October 7, 2004
in the Local 6 News

A funeral procession today for a trooper killed on Interstate 4 is expected to cause major traffic delays along International Speedway Boulevard.

The procession for Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Darryl Haywood will begin at about 9:15 a.m. from Daytona International Speedway and will head east on International Speedway Boulevard to the Ocean Center on North Atlantic Avenue, FHP spokeswoman Trooper Kim Miller said. All eastbound traffic will be stopped until the last car has left the Speedway.

The public memorial service will be today at the Ocean Center at 10:30 a.m. A law enforcement officer reception will be held at the Ocean Center immediately after the memorial service.

Haywood, 49, of Palm Coast, was killed Saturday while attempting to overtake a speeding motorcycle on Interstate 4 Saturday. Haywood's patrol car skidded 865 feet off the highway and was traveling at 60 mph when it slammed into a tree five miles east of State Road 44, investigators said.

The driver of the motorcycle, Donald Williams, 39, of Seffner was charged later Saturday in St. Johns County with aggravated fleeing and eluding and reckless driving.

He remains in the St. Johns County jail without bail, a booking officer said Wednesday. Further charges against him are pending.


Black Porsche sought in trooper's death

Published on Wednesday, October 6, 2004
in the Orlando Sentinel

Investigators were searching Tuesday for a black Porsche that witnesses say was drag racing at speeds of more than 100 mph shortly before a state trooper crashed and was killed Saturday as he tried to overtake the car and a motorcycle.

The initial call to police described the car as a red Porsche 911, but investigators say subsequent interviews with witnesses at the accident site on Interstate 4 in Volusia County suggest that the Porsche is probably a color closer to black than red.

Trooper Darryl L. Haywood's fatal crash may have been caused by a puncture in the right rear tire of his 2002 Chevrolet Camaro cruiser, Florida Highway Patrol spokeswoman Kim Miller said. But investigators have not yet determined what caused the puncture, Miller said.

Haywood's cruiser slid more than 860 feet and was still traveling at 60 mph when it crashed into a tree, according to court testimony given Monday by a state trooper in an unrelated case.

Donald Williams, 38, of Seffner, the driver of the 1999 Suzuki Hayabusa 1300 motorcycle -- considered the fastest production motorcycle ever built -- remained in St. Johns County Jail without bail Tuesday. Deputies in St. Johns County charged Williams with aggravated fleeing and eluding and reckless driving Saturday after they observed him driving northbound on Interstate 95 at more than 150 mph about two hours after the crash in Volusia County.

Investigators are still compiling a timeline of events in an attempt to determine whether Haywood caught up with Williams or the driver of the Porsche.

A memorial service for Haywood is planned for Thursday in Daytona Beach.


Trooper dies while chasing suspect

Published on Wednesday, October 6, 2004
in the Daytona Beach News-Journal

Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Darryl Haywood, a Palm Coast resident, died Saturday afternoon in a crash while trying to apprehend a suspect driving a motorcycle at high speed on Interstate 4. The crash happened about 1:45 p.m. between DeLand and Daytona Beach, minutes after Haywood spotted the cyclist heading east on I-4. A tire on Haywood's 2002 Camaro patrol car separated and is suspected to be the cause of the crash, FHP spokeswoman Trooper Kim Miller said Monday.

Haywood was responding to a report of a motorcycle and a sports car racing on the interstate.

After seeing the motorcycle, Haywood, who was heading west on I-4turned around to try and catch the cyclist. The patrol car collided with another car after the tire either blew or came apart and ended up in two pieces, one wrapped around a tree near the edge of the highway and the other several feet away in a soggy portion of the woods.

FHP officials spent hours Monday looking for the patrol car's video recorder, which may reveal details of what happened.

Fellow troopers standing along the highway Saturday refused comment as they watched crews remove the wreckage from the woods. Eastbound traffic was backed up for several miles for about four hours.

Later that day, FHP officials began to talk about the loss.

"It's a sad day for FHP," the law-enforcement agency's director, Col. Christopher A. Knight, said at a press conference Saturday evening at the agency's DeLand headquarters.

Haywood, 49, joined the Florida Highway Patrol in March 2000. He was previously an officer with the New York Police Department for 20 years.

He is survived by his wife, two children and a grandchild.

Haywood is the 39th trooper to be killed in the line of duty since 1941, Knight said.

"It's tough on the organization when we lose a trooper in the line of duty," Knight said. "The whole agency mourns."

Haywood was selected as Trooper of the Month in July for rescuing a driver from a burning vehicle.

On July 25 at about 6:40 a.m., while on patrol on Interstate 95, he came upon a single-vehicle crash quickly approached the burning vehicle, broke out a window and removed the driver from danger.

"Trooper Haywood's quick actions helped save a life," a release from FHP stated.

And that wasn't the only time Haywood's work earned priase.

Daytona Beach Police Sgt. Al Tolley also wrote a letter to Haywood's colonel commending Haywood for his "heartfelt concern" for Daytona Beach Police Cmdr. Lexie Williams after Williams' 20-year-old daughter, Alexis Williams, died in a car accident on U.S. 92 in February 2003.

Haywood handled the investigation and accompanied Cmdr. Williams to Halifax Medical Center to identify his daughter.

That sentiment rang through in other letters to the Florida Highway Patrol. A DeLeon Springs woman in August 2001 described Haywood as a "thorough, understanding, caring professional" who helped her after she hit a cow in the road late at night.

"I cannot say enough good words to describe how great Trooper Haywood was on this most unusual situation and stressful situation for me," she wrote in the letter.

Lawmen in St. Johns County arrested a man suspected of being the driver of the motorcycle Haywood pursued.

A St. Johns County deputy later arrested the suspected speeder, Donald Williams, 39, of Seffner at a truck stop in St. Johns County. His motorcycle had a flat tire, Miller said.

"If it had not been for that flat tire, we probably would have never caught him," Miller said.

Authorities on Monday said they're looking for a red Porsche, possibly a 911 model that may have been involved.

Williams was charged with aggravated fleeing and eluding. He was held being in the St. Johns County Jail without bail Sunday, a booking officer said.

The charges stem from a second incident shortly after Williams eluded Haywood, Miller said. A trooper in St. Johns County clocked Williams traveling at 150 mph, Miller said. The trooper broke off the pursuit because of the motorcyle's speed -- and because he had not heard of the accident involving Haywood. After authorities learned of the accident, a St. Johns County sheriff's deputy found Williams at the truck stop, Miller said.

Williams is not saying anything about the accident, but has admitted escaping from the second trooper in St. Johns County, Miller said.

Charges relevant to Haywood's death are pending an ongoing investigation that includes interviews with witnesses who have called in, Miller said. Investigators will forward their findings to the State Attorney's Office, which will decide whether any charges will be filed, she said.

Plans had not been finalized Monday for Haywood's memorial service or funeral.


Police give more details on crash

Published on Wednesday, October 6, 2004
in the Daytona Beach News-Journal

DAYTONA BEACH -- A motorcyclist who fled from a trooper on Interstate 4 admitted to state police investigators that he took off when he saw the officer trying to overtake him, a Florida Highway Patrol spokeswoman said Tuesday.

A charging affidavit obtained Tuesday detailed the information the motorcyclist gave investigators. He also admitted that he fled from a second trooper Saturday in St. Johns County and only stopped when he realized he had a flat tire.

Trooper Darryl Haywood was killed when the right rear tire of his 2002 Chevy Camaro came apart as he drove at an estimated 100 mph trying to catch the speeding motorcycle. Haywood's patrol car skidded 865 feet off the highway and was still traveling at 60 mph when it slammed into a tree 5 miles east of State Road 44 at 1:46 p.m. Saturday, investigators said.

The suspected speeder, Donald Williams, 39, of Seffner was arrested later that day when a St. Johns County deputy found him at a truck stop near St. Augustine repairing the rear tire of his motorcycle, spokeswoman Kim Miller said.

The report said the motorcycle tire was flattened "likely due to the debris the motorcycle drove through while traveling on the paved emergency shoulder."

Debris at the side of the road also might have caused Haywood's crash. A witness said Haywood overtook her vehicle by using the emergency lane. On Monday, Miller declined to confirm reports that a nail caused Haywood's tire to separate.

Investigators interviewed Williams in the St. Johns County Jail where he remains without bail on charges of aggravated fleeing and eluding. Charges against Williams in connection with Haywood's death are pending a complete investigation, Miller said.

At 2:20 p.m. Saturday, a second trooper on the northbound shoulder of Interstate 95 saw Williams speed by, weaving in and out of traffic, running vehicles onto the shoulder of the road, and racing in the emergency lane, the report said.

"I was at 150 mph and the motorcycle was still pulling away," Trooper Phillip Delgadowrote in the charging affidavit.

On Tuesday, troopers announced they are looking for a black Porsche 911 and its occupants as witnesses, based on reports from drivers who called 9-1-1 about the speeding vehicles.

The accident has drawn criticism from a local advocate for pursuit policy reform.

Jim Phillips, whose 20-year-old daughter was an innocent bystander killed during a police chase in Orlando three years ago, said the high-speed pursuit that killed Haywood was against FHP policies. The policy states that a pursuit is warranted if troopers reasonably believe the person in a vehicle has committed or attempted to commit a crime of violence.

"Speeding or racing on the Interstate is not a violent crime; it's a traffic infraction," Phillips said. "I guess many police believe, and I believe erroneously, that they have to get him right now or he is going to kill someone."

But Miller said Haywood's attempt to overtake the motorcycle was not a pursuit.

"If, when the trooper gets behind the vehicle and turns on his lights and sirens, the person decides to speed off, that is when it is a pursuit," Miller said. "By policy, we have not done anything wrong."

"When a member of the public calls and says that his life is placed in danger by a speeding vehicle, he is asking us to do something about it."


Trooper drove too fast on I-4, watchdog says

But the Florida Highway Patrol says the late officer did nothing wrong.

Published on Tuesday, October 5, 2004
in the Orlando Sentinel

As troopers dug through knee-deep mud for the personal effects of a fellow officer killed while chasing two drag-racing vehicles, a Winter Park law-enforcement consultant on Monday criticized state police pursuit policy as too vague and said the trooper's decision to chase the speeding vehicles unnecessarily endangered other drivers and himself.

Florida Highway Patrol on Monday also released audio tapes of the call from a motorist reporting the drag-racing vehicles and the call from Trooper Darryl L. Haywood to dispatchers confirming his sighting of the dueling motorcycle and car as they sped along Interstate 4 in Volusia County.

Investigators think the right rear tire on Haywood's 2002 Chevrolet Camaro tore apart Saturday after he crossed the median and sped up to more than 100 mph in an attempt to overtake the vehicles -- a 1999 Suzuki 1300 motorcycle and a red Porsche 911. The failed tire sent his car careening into another vehicle before leaving the roadway and crashing into a tree, investigators said.

"There's no reason to be going 100 or 150 mph to catch up to a guy on a motorcycle. The most common scenario is that he's going to get away," said Jim Phillips, who has tracked police-pursuit issues on his Web site PursuitWatch.org since his daughter was killed in Orlando during a high-speed chase in 2001.

"We shouldn't be giving hokey justifications."

Phillips acted as a key consultant for the Orange County Sheriff's Office and Orlando Police when the two agencies overhauled their pursuit policies to make them more restrictive.

Shamir Suber, who crashed into the car of Phillips' daughter Sarah as he tried to flee Orange County sheriff deputies, was sentenced to 45 years in jail on Monday for her death.

FHP spokeswoman Kim Miller on Monday defended both the agency's policy and Haywood's actions.

"This was not a pursuit. The trooper did nothing wrong," Miller said. "He was trying to overtake the vehicle."

A pursuit does not begin until an officer "overtakes" or catches up with a vehicle, Miller said, and the driver sees the flashing lights and hears the sirens but refuses to stop.

The Porsche 911 said to be involved in the race had not been located as of Monday. The driver of the Suzuki motorcycle, Donald Williams, 38, of Seffner, remained in St. Johns County Jail on Monday on charges of aggravated fleeing and eluding and reckless driving. Those charges were filed after Williams was observed by a trooper speeding at more than 150 mph northbound on I-95.

Police have not determined whether Haywood, 49, of Palm Coast, ever gained sight of Williams or the Porsche after deciding to give chase.

FHP pursuit policy, similar to policies for the Orange County Sheriff's Office and Orlando Police, prohibits all vehicular pursuits except when a violent offender may be involved.

"In the old days cops used to chase until they ran out of gas. But the way we do business now is totally different," Steve Jones, chief spokesman for the Orange County Sheriff's Office, said. "We only chase for violent crime because pursuits are so dangerous. It makes for a safer community."

The trend across the nation is toward fewer situations where law-enforcement officers are allowed to chase suspects at high speeds, Jones said.

Craig Morse, a former police academy classmate of Haywood, said Haywood always showed the highest degree of professionalism in his police work. Morse and several other officers spent Monday at the accident site west of the I-95 interchange near Daytona Beach digging through the mud for Haywood's belongings. They found an unframed photo of Haywood and his wife.

"He wasn't one of those people who'd look at someone and say, 'I'm going to get him.' He wasn't that way," Morse said. "He was professional, just the kindest, gentlest human being I've ever known."

Law-enforcement officers will gather Thursday at Daytona International Speedway at 8 a.m., and a funeral procession for Haywood will travel to the Ocean Center on State Road A1A. A public memorial service is scheduled for 10:30 a.m.


Investigators search for car in drag race

Published on Tuesday, October 5, 2004
in the Orlando Sentinel

Investigators today were searching for a black Porsche that witnesses say was drag racing at speeds of more than 100 mph shortly before a state trooper died Saturday in a crash as he tried to overtake the Porsche and a motorcycle.

The initial call to police described the car as a red Porsche 911, but investigators say subsequent interviews with witnesses at the accident site on Interstate 4 in Volusia County suggest that the Porsche is probably a color closer to black rather than red.

Trooper Darryl L. Haywood's fatal crash may have been caused by a puncture in the right rear tire of his 2002 Chevrolet Camaro cruiser, Florida Highway Patrol spokeswoman Kim Miller said. But investigators have not yet determined what caused the puncture, Miller said.

Haywood's cruiser slid more than 860 feet and was still traveling at 60 mph when it crashed into a tree, according to court testimony given Monday by a state trooper in an unrelated case.

Donald Williams, 38, of Seffner, the driver of the 1999 Suzuki Hayabusa 1300 motorcycle -- considered the fastest production motorcycle ever built -- remained in St. Johns County Jail without bond today. Williams has been charged with aggravated fleeing and eluding and reckless driving.

Investigators are still compiling a timeline of events in an attempt to determine whether Haywood ever caught up with Williams or the driver of the Porsche. A memorial service for Haywood will be held Thursday.


Police Report: Motorcyclist charged after fatal crash

Published on Tuesday, October 5, 2004
in the St. Augustine Record

Motorcyclist charged after fatal crash: A 38-year-old Seffner man was arrested Saturday in St. Johns County after a Florida Highway Patrol trooper in Volusia County was killed chasing him earlier that day.

Donald Williams, a program analyst for a hotel chain, was arrested at the T/A Travel Center on County Road 210 about 3 p.m. Saturday, Highway Patrol reports said.

A trooper on Interstate 95 spotted the blue and silver 1999 Suzuki GSXR1300. Williams drove past him at 90 mph on Interstate 95. The trooper chased the bike at speeds of up to 150 mph, the report said. He backed off and lost it, but heard from Deputy Steven Lay of the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office had spotted a bike matching that description at the truck stop and detained the rider.

The trooper reported that several vehicles were seen running off the road onto the shoulder as the motorcycle passed at high speed.

The officer killed, Trooper Darryl Louis Haywood, 49, a four-year veteran of the Highway Patrol, was killed on Interstate 4 while trying to overtake Williams and a Porsche racing on the highway. He lost control of his vehicle, sideswiped another car, ran onto the shoulder and hit a tree.

Williams was charged with aggravated fleeing and eluding and reckless driving, and he is under investigation for causing the death of the trooper, reports said.

He remains in St. Johns County jail under no bond.

Trooper Haywood had just been selected as the statewide Florida Highway Patrol Trooper of the Month for his life-saving actions in July where he pulled a driver from a burning vehicle.

Trooper Kim Miller, spokeswomen for the Orlando office of the Highway Patrol, said arrangements for Haywood have not yet been completed.

He is the 39th trooper killed in the line of duty.


Tire, 911 tapes get focus in trooper crash

Published on Tuesday, October 5, 2004
in the Daytona Beach News-Journal

DAYTONA BEACH -- A tire that came apart on a trooper's patrol car as he tried to overtake a speeding motorcycle has been sent to experts for evaluation, a Florida Highway Patrol official said Monday.

The right rear tire of Trooper Darryl Haywood's 2002 Chevy Camaro separated from the car Saturday as he tried to overtake a speeding motorcycle at 100 mph on Interstate 4, said FHP spokeswoman Trooper Kim Miller.

Haywood's patrol car skidded 865 feet off the highway and was still traveling at 60 mph when it slammed into a tree 5 miles east of State Road 44, investigators said.

Haywood, 49, of Palm Coast died at the scene.

Miller declined Monday to confirm reports that a nail caused the tire to come apart.

"All I will confirm is that there was a tire separation and that we don't know why," Miller said. "The tire has been sent off to be evaluated to determine what caused it to separate."

Also on Monday, FHP investigators reviewed 911 tapes of the incident. The motorist who called the FHP to report two vehicles racing at high speeds on the interstate provided a brief description of the vehicles, Miller said.

"A guy called FHP and said 'there is a blue Suzuki 1300 motorcycle and a red Porsche 911 drag racing on I-4 and they almost ran me off the road,' " Miller said Monday of the 911 recording.

FHP officials have not gotten any calls about the red Porsche 911 and are asking anyone who saw the car or has more information to call them at (407) 737-2300, Miller said.

The 911 tapes also revealed what happened just prior to the accident.

At 1:38 p.m., troopers in Volusia County were alerted by FHP dispatchers to be on the lookout for the motorcycle and Porsche speeding in the eastbound lanes of I-4.

Four minutes later, Trooper Darryl Haywood radioed dispatchers that he had spotted the motorcycle near the 120 mile marker and was attempting to overtake it, but that it was pulling away at a high rate of speed.

"That was the last transmission heard from Haywood," Miller said.

At 1:46 p.m., dispatchers got a call that an FHP-marked car had crashed, Miller said.

Haywood's 2002 Chevy Camaro clipped another car during its skid. That driver suffered minor injuries.

The blue motorcycle suspected of speeding and its driver were located later that day by a St. Johns County sheriff's deputy near St. Augustine while fixing a flat tire at the truck stop. The driver, Donald Williams, 39, of Seffner was charged with aggravated fleeing and eluding and reckless driving.

He remains in the St. Johns County jail without bail, a booking officer said Monday. Further charges against him are pending.

A public memorial service for Haywood will be at 10 a.m. Thursday at the Ocean Center in Daytona Beach.


Funeral Arrangements Made For Trooper Killed On I-4

Published on Tuesday, October 5, 2004
in the Local 6 News

Funeral arrangements have been made for the Florida Highway Patrol trooper killed while trying to stop a drag race on Interstate 4 Saturday, according to Local 6 News.

Trooper Darryl Haywood's viewing will be from 10 to 10:30 a.m. Thursday at the Ocean Center and funeral services will follow.

The public is welcome to attend.

It is believed Haywood was driving more than a 100 mph trying to catch up with a black Porsche 911 and a motorcycle racing down I-4 in Volusia County.

It's believed one of the tires on Haywood's cruiser separated, sending him careening into a tree.


Trooper's death linked to tires

Published on Tuesday, October 5, 2004
in the Florida Times-Union

Tire failure during an interstate chase at more than 100 mph may be why a Florida Highway Patrol trooper's car crashed Saturday, killing the veteran officer on Interstate 4 near DeLand.

Witnesses said they saw the right rear tire separate on trooper Darryl Louis Haywood's Camaro before the wreck, trooper Kim Miller said. The car was equipped with Goodyear tires, but she said the agency has not had problems with the tire brand in the past.

"We haven't gotten to a final blame yet," she said. "We know it is a contributing cause."

Haywood, 49, of Palm Coast, was killed about 1:45 p.m. Saturday when the car went out of control and sideswiped another vehicle before hitting a tree during the chase.

Haywood was traveling west on I-4 and did a U-turn after spotting a motorcycle and a Porsche racing east. The wreck occurred as he was traveling more than 100 mph to catch the racers, who were pulling away.

An hour later, Donald Williams, 38, of Seffner, was detained after a St. Johns County deputy saw him repairing a motorcycle tire at a County Road 210 truck stop off Interstate 95. Another trooper said Williams matched the description of a motorcyclist he chased at 150 mph not long after the accident that killed Haywood.

Williams has been charged with aggravated fleeing and reckless driving. Miller said investigators will discuss the case with prosecutors in Volusia County to decide if other charges will be filed.

Haywood's funeral will be at 10:30 a.m. Thursday at the Daytona Beach Ocean Center.

Haywood joined the Highway Patrol in 1998 after 20 years as an officer with the New York City Police Department, Miller said.


More Charges Expected Against Motorcycle Driver

Investigators Still Searching For Porsche That May Have Been Involved

Published on Tuesday, October 5, 2004
in the WESH News

DeLand, Fla. -- More charges may be filed later Tuesday against a man accused of leading a trooper on a deadly high-speed pursuit.

The search for answers continues in the death of Florida Highway Patrol officer Darryl Haywood. Meanwhile, his family has finalized funeral plans. The service will be held at 10:30 a.m. Thursday at Ocean Center in Daytona Beach.

Investigators are trying to figure out if another car was involved in the wreck Saturday in Volusia County along Interstate 4, WESH NewsChannel 2 reported.

Haywood died when his patrol car blew a tire and slammed into a tree as he was chasing a man on a motorcycle. Independent experts are looking at the trooper's tire in an effort find out exactly what happened.

Donald Williams, 38, was captured a few hours later and charged with fleeing from law enforcement.

Investigators searched the crash scene Monday for more evidence in the case. Police also released tapes of 911 calls made shortly before the deadly crash.

"Yeah, they're definitely over 100 mph," said one driver, who described seeing a motorcycle and a red Porsche 911 racing along I-4 Saturday afternoon.

"They came running up on us. We were trying to get out of the fast lane because they were all over us. Then the motorcycle shot over, and we about clipped the front end of him because he shot over so quick," the caller said.

After the information was put out on police radios, Haywood spotted the motorcycle and took off after him.

"I was attempting to stop that motorcycle, but he took off on me," Haywood is heard saying in his last radio transmission to dispatchers.

A short time after that call, he crashed and died. Investigators said his right rear tire separated on his Camaro police cruiser, but they're still not sure why.

Investigators maintain that Haywood was not chasing Williams, but rather was in a mode of overtaking the speeding motorcycle.

"My impression is that he was trying to catch up to this person, possibly get a tag number. Then if they continued to run, he would have a tag number and follow up on it later," said Trooper Carl Simpson.

The driver of a car clipped by Haywood's Camaro doesn't see it that way.

"There was a car in the left-hand lane and a car in the right-hand lane, and he was shooting down the middle looking back," said T.J. Evanchik. He said he believes the driver knew the patrolman was after him.

Meanwhile, other troopers set up a makeshift memorial for Haywood along I-4.

"Trooper Haywood was an outstanding trooper. It's difficult for all of us. We lost a very good friend," said FHP Trooper Craig Morse.

If anyone has any information about a red Porsche 911 that may have been speeding near DeLand Saturday, they are urged to call police.


Police Search For Other Driver Involved In Street Race

Published on Monday, October 4, 2004
in the WESH News

State investigators will start analyzing 911 calls Monday made during an apparent high-speed street race on Interstate 4.

Callers reported a motorcycle racing a Porsche at dangerous speeds Saturday.

State Trooper Darryl Haywood spotted the motorcycle and started chasing it, but his tire blew out and he slammed into a tree and was killed, WESH NewsChannel 2 reported.

TJ Evanchik of Daytona Beach said he watched a motorcycle race past him, and a minute or two later, he saw Haywood come up behind him with his emergency lights flashing.

Moments later, Haywood's cruiser crashed into Evanchik's car.

"I saw the wheel come off, we both started spinning and we both hit trees," Evanchik said.

Evanchik tried to help Haywood but his cruiser was on fire and the trooper beyond help. Now he can't understand why Haywood felt the urgency to try and pull over a speeding motorcycle.

"That's the part I don't understand. You have enough people speeding. Why add wood to the fire?" he said.

But a highway patrol spokeswoman said this was more than a case of a speeding motorcycle.

"In this case, somebody called about [someone] putting other drivers at risk, and the trooper had to do something about it," said Kim Miller of Florida Highway Patrol.

Authorities in St. Johns County arrested Donald Williams while he was trying to fix a flat tire on his Suzuki motorcycle. He appeared before a judge on charges of reckless driving and aggravated fleeing and eluding.

Evanchik said Williams looks very much like the man who passed him on the cycle.

In a statement, Haywood's wife described him as "a wonderful husband, father, and son ... dedicated to both his family and career as a law enforcement officer. Darryl loved life, and public service."


HERO COP DIES IN CHASE HORROR

Published on Monday, October 4, 2004
in the New York Post, NY

A former NYPD homicide investigator who went on to become a hero Florida Highway Patrol trooper has been killed during a chase, officials said yesterday.

Darryl L. Haywood, 49, died when his patrol car crashed into a tree while pursuing a motorcyclist on Interstate 4 in central Florida Saturday.

The impact sliced the trooper's car in half.

Haywood was a four-year veteran of the FHP who moved south after retiring from New York's Finest in December 1999.

With the NYPD, he had been part of former Police Commissioner Howard Safir's security detail and a member of the major-case squad.

"He was a very good investigator, he was a very good detective," said Deputy Inspector Michael Hines, the squad's commander.

Haywood is survived by his wife, Linda, two children and a grandchild.

One of the children wants to become a police officer, Hines said.

Last July, Haywood was honored in Florida as "Trooper of the Month" for pulling a person from a burning car.

"He was retired from another agency, so he already knew so much and he was always encouraging us," fellow trooper Albert Pratts told the Orlando Sentinel.

Haywood was chasing motorcyclist Donald Williams, 38, who was arrested a few hours after the crash near St. Augustine, an FHP spokeswoman said.

Investigators suspect a right rear tire on Haywood's patrol car blew, causing it to hit another car before slamming into the tree.


Patrolman Hero Dies Pursuing Suspect

Published on Monday, October 4, 2004
in the CBS 47, Jacksonville

Florida Highway Patrolman, Darryl Haywood, was killed this weekend while pursuing a fleeing suspect.

Investigators say Haywood engaged in chasing the suspect, Donald Williams, after hearing reports of a drag race between a motorcycle and a Porsche on I-4 in Volusia County. Officials say Haywood chased Williams, reaching speeds of over 100 miles per hour. The Florida Highway Patrol confirms that the high performance Goodyear tires on Haywood’s Camaro separated, and his vehicle crashed, flipping into a tree. However, they do say that at such high speeds, even the most experienced driver may not have been able to control the vehicle. It is not known how much of a factor the blown tire played in the crash.

Williams made his first appearance in court Monday morning. He was denied bond in St. Johns County, where he was arrested on charges of fleeing, and additional charges may still be filed.

Prior to the crash, Trooper Haywood had been honored as “Trooper of the Month” for pulling a victim out of a burning car. He was 49 years old.


Tire Separation May Have Caused Fatal Trooper Crash

Published on Monday, October 4, 2004
in the Local 6 News

The Florida Highway Patrol says a tire separation may have caused the crash that killed a trooper after a chase with a motorcycle, according to Local 6 News.

Trooper Darryl L. Haywood, 49, of Palm Coast, died at the scene after hitting a tree near the eastbound lanes of I-4 just east of state Road 44 in Volusia County.

Haywood was trying to stop a high-speed race between a Suzuki motorcycle and a Porsche.

Investigators said the rear right tire separated from his vehicle before he crashed.

Authorities are still investigating whether Haywood was traveling more than 100 mph at the time of the wreck.

The motorcyclist Haywood was chasing was captured a few hours later near St. Augustine. Donald Williams, 38, of Seffner was being held in the St. Johns County Jail on a felony aggravated fleeing and eluding charge, said Trooper Kim Miller, a FHP spokeswoman.

Officials said 911 calls from the accident are expected to be released this week.

Haywood, a four-year veteran of the FHP and a retired New York City homicide detective, was honored as Trooper of the Month in July for pulling a person from a burning car.

He is survived by his wife Linda, two children and a grandchild.


Tire blamed in fatal FHP crash

Published on Monday, October 4, 2004
in the Daytona Beach News-Journal

DAYTONA BEACH -- A tire flew off a trooper's patrol car as he tried to catch up to a speeding motorcycle on Interstate 4, causing him to lose control and crash into a tree, a Florida Highway Patrol spokeswoman said Sunday.

Trooper Darryl Haywood, 49, of Palm Coast died when his marked 2002 Chevy Camaro patrol car crashed into a tree 5 miles east of State Road 44 at 1:45 p.m. Saturday, said FHP spokeswoman Trooper Kim Miller.

"At this time we do know that there was a right rear tire separation, a Goodyear tire, at a speed estimated to be 100 mph," Miller said Sunday. "What we don't know is whether it was a puncture or a blowout."

Haywood was westbound on I-4 shortly before the crash when he received a radio message to be on the lookout for a motorcycle drag racing with a Porsche sports car, Miller said. As he approached the State Road 44 interchange, he spotted the motorcycle speeding in the eastbound lanes. He drove into the next median service cut-through and crossed over to the eastbound lanes to try to catch up with the motorcyclist, Miller said.

"We heard Haywood say he had seen the motorcycle but there was no mention of the Porsche," Miller said.

The Porsche could have either exited at S.R. 44 or was probably left behind by the fast moving 1998 Suzuki motorcycle by the time Haywood saw it, Miller said.

Haywood died 3 1/2 miles from where he first called on his service radio after spotting the motorcycle, Miller said.

A St. Johns County deputy later arrested the suspected speeder, Donald Williams, 39, of Seffner at a truck stop in St. Johns County. His motorcycle had a flat tire, Miller said.

"If it had not been for that flat tire, we probably would have never caught him," Miller said.

Williams was charged with aggravated fleeing and eluding. He was held being in the St. John's County Jail without bail Sunday, a booking officer said.

The charges stem from a second incident shortly after Williams eluded Haywood, Miller said. A trooper in St. Johns County clocked Williams racing at 150 mph, Miller said. The trooper broke off the pursuit because of the motorcyle's speed -- and because he had not heard of the accident involving Haywood. After authorities learned of the accident, a St. Johns County sheriff's deputy found Williams at the truck stop, Miller said.

Williams is not saying anything about the accident, but has admitted escaping from the second trooper in St. Johns County, Miller said.

Charges relevant to Haywood's death are pending an ongoing investigation that includes interviews with witnesses who have called in, Miller said. Investigators will forward their findings to the State Attorney's Office, which will decide whether any charges will be filed, she said.

Anyone with information about the accident or Porsche is asked to call the FHP at (407) 737-2300.

Sandy Champagne, who is visiting friends in Ormond Beach, said she was coming from Orlando at 75 mph when the motorcycle zoomed past her car. A short time later, Haywood's patrol car, using the emergency lane, overtook her, she said.

"He had no sirens or lights on," Champagne said. "He was cutting in and out of traffic."

Troopers don't put on their sirens and lights while trying to catch up to a speeding driver because other motorists tend to freeze when they hear the sirens and see the lights, Miller said. They stop on the interstate and block the road, making it difficult for troopers to proceed, she said.

"But once we have the person in sight we activate our lights and sirens to effect a traffic stop," Miller said.

When Haywood's car lost the rear tire and went out of control, it clipped an eastbound car driven by Thomas Evanchik, 24, of Daytona Beach, who was treated for minor injuries atHalifax Medical Center and released, Miller said.

Meanwhile, his wife, Linda Sharpe Haywood, said in a statement Sunday that Darryl Haywood was a wonderful husband, father and son, who was dedicated to both his family and career as a law enforcement officer.

"Darryl loved life and public service. He gave unselfishly of himself to anyone in need," Linda Sharpe Haywood said. "There will always be a void in our hearts as a result of our loss."

Plans had not been finalized Sunday for Haywood's memorial service or funeral.


Trooper killed in crash called excellent driver

Darryl Haywood's crime-fighting career included years as a highly trained New York City police officer.

Published on Monday, October 4, 2004
in the Orlando Sentinel

A state trooper killed while chasing a speeding motorcyclist in Volusia County had served in several elite New York City police units, including two that required precision driving.

Darryl Haywood, 49, who retired from the New York force and joined the Florida Highway Patrol in 2000, was on the security staff protecting the police commissioner, and he also served in the department's highway-patrol unit. Both jobs require excellent driving skills, police said.

Haywood, who joined the FHP as a second career after moving to Florida, died Saturday while trying to stop a motorcyclist on Interstate 4 near DeLand. His Camaro, issued to experienced troopers with special training, flipped and hit a tree at what investigators think was more than 100 mph.

Troopers are looking into why his right rear tire, a high-performance Goodyear, separated, said Trooper Kim Miller, a patrol spokeswoman.

"He was a very experienced driver," said Trooper Winston Burnett, who also retired from the New York City police force and became friends with Haywood when both were at the Highway Patrol academy. "I don't believe that it was an error that he made."

The head of the New York Police Department's major-case squad, Deputy Inspector Michael Hines, said Haywood had excellent judgment, an even temper and a strong work ethic. While in the commissioner's protection detail, many of his duties involved advanced driving, Hines said.

Haywood began his career as a patrolman in the Bronx in 1980, police said. Most recently, he worked as a detective, second grade -- a rank held by only about one in 10 New York City detectives, Hines said -- on the prestigious major-case squad. His primary job was investigating bank robberies in Manhattan.

"He was just very good at getting the job done," Hines said. "He did his time in New York City, and at times it's a very tough place to be."

Haywood's wife, Linda, of Palm Coast, released a statement Sunday saying her husband was dedicated to his family and to his career.

"Darryl loved life, and public service," she wrote. "He gave unselfishly of himself to anyone in need. There will always be a tremendous void in our hearts as a result of our loss."

The couple had two children and one grandchild.

Haywood was the second trooper to die on duty this year. Sgt. George A. Brown III, a 33-year veteran of the patrol, died April 27 during a chase in Columbia County.

Saturday's crash began with a motorist's report of a drag race on I-4 between a motorcycle and a Porsche. Haywood was westbound but cut across the median and turned around when he spotted the motorcycle, Miller said. The crash happened about 1:45 p.m. a few miles west of the Interstate 95 interchange, just 31/2 miles after Haywood began going after the motorcycle, she said.

The Porsche had not been located Sunday. The motorcycle driver, Donald Williams, 36, of Seffner, was being held without bail at the St. Johns County Jail on charges of aggravated fleeing and eluding and reckless driving. The State Attorney's Office will decide if charges are warranted in connection with Haywood's death, Miller said.

Haywood was named the patrol's trooper of the month in July after he saved a driver from a burning vehicle. He received further praise from a Daytona Beach police sergeant, who wrote a letter to the director of the FHP commending Haywood's compassion and professionalism.

Haywood had notified a Daytona Beach police commander that the commander's daughter had been killed in an accident, and accompanied the man when he went to the hospital to identify the body.

Arrangements for Haywood's funeral were incomplete Sunday.


FHP Trooper Killed in Crash During Chase

Published on Monday, October 4, 2004
in the Lakeland Ledger

DeLAND -- A Florida Highway Patrol trooper died Saturday when his cruiser crashed into a tree during a chase.

Darryl L. Haywood, 49, of Palm Coast, died at the scene of the crash on Interstate 4, which split his vehicle in half, officials said.

The motorcyclist he was chasing was captured a few hours later near St. Augustine. Donald Williams, 38, of Seffner was being held in the St. Johns County Jail on a felony aggravated fleeing and eluding charge, said Trooper Kim Miller, an FHP spokeswoman.

Additional charges against Williams may be pending, Miller said.

Investigators suspect the right rear tire on Haywood's Chevrolet Camaro cruiser blew, causing the patrol to hit an Audi driven by 24-year-old Thomas Evanchik, of Daytona Beach.

Miller said the patrol car flipped several times and slammed into a tree on the south side of the interstate.

Evanchik was taken to Halifax Medical Center with minor injuries, Miller said.

Miller said Williams was traveling in excess of 150 mph on Interstate 95 when he was spotted by another trooper. Williams was captured by a St. Johns County deputy at a truck stop when he stopped to fix a flat tire.

Haywood, a four-year veteran of the FHP and a retired New York City homicide detective, was honored as Trooper of the Month in July for pulling a person from a burning car.


Trooper dies during chase

FHP arrests a motorcyclist after he was spotted racing with a Porsche in DeLand.

Published on Sunday, October 3, 2004
in the Florida Times-Union

A Florida Highway Patrol trooper was killed Saturday when his patrol car crashed into a tree during a chase. Later in the day, a Seffner man was arrested in St. Johns County and charged with fleeing police.

The crash happened on eastbound Interstate 4 near DeLand, about halfway between Orlando and Daytona Beach, patrol officials said.

Trooper Darryl Louis Haywood spotted a motorcycle and a Porsche racing eastbound on I-4 near the 120-mile marker about 1:45 p.m., officials said. Haywood, 49, was attempting to overtake them, but the vehicles sped away.

Haywood crashed minutes later at the 123-mile marker.

Donald Williams, 38, was arrested after authorities spotted a motorcyclist speeding north on Interstate 95 in St. Johns County about 30 minutes after the crash. The driver was going at least 150 mph, officials said.

A trooper attempted to stop the motorcyclist, but he sped away. A St. Johns County sheriff's deputy eventually spotted the man at a truck stop at Interstate 95 and St. Johns County Road 210.

Haywood was a four-year patrol veteran. He joined the FHP after retiring from the New York City Police Department after 20 years.

He was named trooper of the month for July for pulling a motorist from a burning vehicle. He is survived by his wife, two children and one grandchild.

The crash is still being investigated, said patrol spokesman Lt. Bill Leeper.


Trooper Killed During High-Speed Chase

Published on Sunday, October 3, 2004
in the WESH News

DELAND, Fla. -- A Seffner man appeared in a St. John's County court Sunday, charged with felony aggravated fleeing and eluding in the death of a Florida Highway Patrol trooper Saturday.

Officials said Darryl L. Haywood, 49, of Palm Coast, died at the scene when his cruiser crashed into a tree during a chase on Interstate 4.

The force of the impact split his vehicle in half.

FHP officials said motorcyclist Donald Williams, 38, was captured a few hours later near St. Augustine.

He was held Saturday night in the St. Johns County Jail. Additional charges against Williams may be pending.

Investigators suspect a right rear tire on Haywood's Chevrolet Camaro cruiser blew, causing the patrol to hit an Audi driven by Thomas Evanchik, 24, of Daytona Beach.

Officials said the patrol car flipped several times and slammed into a tree on the south side of the interstate.

Evanchik was taken to Halifax Medical Center with minor injuries.

Haywood was a four-year veteran of the FHP and a retired New York City homicide detective. He was honored as Trooper of the Month in July for pulling a person from a burning car.


Trooper killed pursuing speeding motorcyclist

Published on Sunday, October 3, 2004
in the Local 6 News

A state trooper from Palm Coast who only months ago rescued a driver from a burning vehicle was killed Saturday while pursuing a speeding motorcyclist just east of DeLand.

Darryl Haywood, 49, a four-year veteran of the Florida Highway Patrol, was killed after his patrol car skidded off Interstate 4 and crashed into a wooded area about five miles east of State Road.

"It's a sad day for FHP," the law-enforcement agency's director, Col. Christopher A. Knight, said at a press conference Saturday evening at the agency's DeLand headquarters.

FHP was alerted to be on the lookout for a Porsche and a motorcycle racing in the eastbound lane of the interstate at about 1:45 p.m. Saturday. Haywood spotted the two vehicles, but both drivers pulled away at a high rate of speed.

The Porsche escaped, but Haywood -- driving one of FHP's fastest cars -- continued to try to stop the motorcyclist, officials said. The motorcyclist sped away as Haywood skidded off the road. A trooper in St. Johns County eventually pulled the motorcycle over. The motorcyclist Donald Williams, 38, of Seffner was arrested and taken to a St. Johns County jail. He was charged with felony aggravated fleeing and eluding and may be charged for the death of Haywood, officials said.

A blue Audi was clipped by the trooper's Camaro as he veered off the road and the Audi came to rest several feet away from the squad car. The driver, 24-year-old Thomas Ezanchik of Daytona Beach, suffered minor injuries and was taken to Halifax Medical Center for medical complications, FHP spokeswoman Kim Miller said.

There were no witnesses at the scene.

The patrol car was in two pieces, one wrapped around a tree near the edge of the highway and the other several feet away in a soggy portion of the woods.

Fellow troopers stood along the highway, watching as crews removed the wreckage from the woods. Troopers at the scene refused to comment. Eastbound traffic was backed up for several miles for about four hours.

Haywood joined the Florida Highway Patrol in March 2000. He was previously an officer with the New York Police Department for 20 years. He is survived by a wife, two children and a grandchild.

Haywood is the 39th trooper to be killed in the line of duty since 1941, Knight said.

The last trooper who died in the line of duty was George A. Brown III on April 27 in Columbia County. Brown, better known as Andy, was a trooper in Volusia County for many years.

"It's tough on the organization when we lose a trooper in the line of duty," Knight said. "The whole agency mourns."

Haywood was selected as Trooper of the Month in July for rescuing a driver from a burning vehicle.

On July 25 at about 6:40 a.m., while on patrol on Interstate 95, he came upon a single-vehicle crash quickly approached the burning vehicle, broke out a window and removed the driver from danger.

"Trooper Haywood's quick actions helped save a life," a release from FHP stated.

Daytona Beach Police Sgt. Al Tolley also wrote a letter to Haywood's colonel commending Haywood for his "heartfelt concern" for Daytona Beach Police Cmdr. Lexie Williams after Williams' 20-year-old daughter, Alexis Williams, died in a car accident on U.S. 92 in February 2003. Haywood handled the investigation and accompanied Cmdr. Williams to Halifax Medical Center to identify his daughter.

That sentiment rang through in other letters to the Florida Highway Patrol. A DeLeon Springs woman in August 2001 described Haywood as a "thorough, understanding, caring professional" who helped her after she hit a cow in the road late at night.

"I cannot say enough good words to describe how great Trooper Haywood was on this most unusual situation and stressful situation for me," she wrote in the letter.

The chase was not a "pursuit," as defined by the FHP, but rather an "overtaking," a procedure in which a trooper tries to catch up to a vehicle whose driver is not aware he is being followed, Knight said.

The FHP's 2003 Camaros are faster than normal squad cars and are given to the top troopers in the agency, Knight said. The accident was the second in which one of the cars was involved. However, officials said it could not yet be determined whether the car was to blame.

Haywood had been driving the car for more than two years and completed eight hours of training in the car.

FHP has no information on the Porsche involved in the race and asked that anyone with information call the department, Knight said. The FHP number is (407) 737-2300.


Trooper dies in I-4 chase

Veteran law officer was pursuing motorcyclist when he flipped car, hit a tree

Published on Sunday, October 3, 2004
in the Orlando Sentinel

A Florida Highway Patrol trooper honored in July for pulling a person from a burning car was killed Saturday when his car slammed into a tree off Interstate 4 and was sliced in half as he chased a fleeing motorcyclist.

The motorcyclist was captured a few hours later near St. Augustine and faces felony charges.

Trooper Darryl L. Haywood, 49, of Palm Coast, a four-year veteran of the FHP and a retired New York City homicide detective, died at the scene of the 1:38 p.m. crash on I-4, about 5 miles east of State Road 44 and a few miles west of the Interstate 95 interchange.

"He was a real quiet guy but always helping us," said Trooper Albert Pratts, who graduated from the FHP Academy in Tallahassee with Haywood in September 2000.

Haywood was pursuing a motorcyclist who was "driving at a high rate of speed" on the eastbound lanes of the interstate. Investigators suspect that a right rear tire on his 2001 Chevrolet Camaro cruiser blew, causing the patrol car to hit a 2001 Audi driven by Thomas Evanchik, 24, of Daytona Beach, according to the FHP.

"The car was so mangled, they just don't know yet," said Trooper Kim Miller, an agency spokeswoman.

The patrol car then flipped several times and slammed into a tree on the south side of the interstate.

Evanchik was taken to Halifax Medical Center with minor injuries, according to Miller.

Another trooper saw a motorcyclist traveling at more than "150 mph" in the northbound lane of I-95. The motorcyclist was stopped by a St. Johns County deputy at a truck stop onCounty Road 210, according to the FHP.

"The motorcycle had a flat tire and he pulled in there to fix it when the deputy spotted him," Miller said.

Donald Williams, 38, of Seffner was being held in the St. Johns County Jail on a felony aggravated fleeing and eluding charge, Miller said. Williams was being questioned late Saturday and additional charges could be filed, Miller said.

Back at the grisly scene of Haywood's crash, troopers could be seen wiping tears from their eyes as they remembered their colleague.

On July 25, Haywood pulled a man from a burning vehicle after the driver lost control and struck a tree.

When Haywood arrived on the scene, the vehicle was on fire and the driver was still inside. Haywood broke a window on the car and pulled the driver to safety.

He was honored as Trooper of the Month for his actions, but it was just his way, according to his colleagues.

"He was retired from another agency so he already knew so much and he was always teaching us and encouraging us," Pratts said.

Pratts said his classmate served as an inspiration to others during the rigorous six-month academy training.

"He was one of the older guys and we always said 'If he can do it, we can do it,' " Pratts said. "We were the younger guys, so we knew if he could do it, we should be able to do it."

Haywood is survived by his wife Linda, two children and a grandchild.


FHP Trooper Dies In Fiery Crash On I-4

Published on Saturday, October 2, 2004
in the Local 6 News

DELAND, Fla. -- A Florida Highway Patrol trooper died Saturday when his cruiser crashed and was split in half during a chase on Interstate 4, according to Local 6 News.

Local 6 News reported that Darryl L. Haywood, 49, of Palm Coast, died at the scene after hitting a tree near the eastbound lanes of I-4 just east of state Road 44 in Volusia County.

The motorcyclist he was chasing was captured a few hours later near St. Augustine. Donald Williams, 38, of Seffner was being held in the St. Johns County Jail on a felony aggravated fleeing and eluding charge, said Trooper Kim Miller, a FHP spokeswoman.

Additional charges against Williams may be pending, Miller said.

Investigators suspect a right rear tire on Haywood's Chevrolet Camaro cruiser blew, causing the patrol to hit an Audi driven by 24-year-old Thomas Evanchik, of Daytona Beach.

Miller said the patrol car flipped several times and slammed into a tree on the south side of the interstate.

Evanchik was taken to Halifax Medical Center with minor injuries, Miller said.

Miller said Williams was spotted by another trooper traveling in excess of 150 mph on Interstate 95. Williams was captured by a St. Johns County deputy at a truck stop when he stopped to fix a flat tire.

Haywood, a four-year veteran of the FHP and a retired New York City homicide detective, was honored as Trooper of the Month in July for pulling a person from a burning car.

He is survived by his wife Linda, two children and a grandchild.

One of the suspects in the chase was still being sought Saturday night, Local 6 News reported.


FHP trooper killed in crash on I-4 near DeLand

Published on Saturday, October 2, 2004
in the Miami Herald

A Florida Highway Patrol trooper honored in July for pulling a person from a burning car was killed Saturday when his car slammed into a tree off Interstate 4 and was sliced in half as he chased a fleeing motorcyclist.

The motorcyclist was captured a few hours later near St. Augustine and faces felony charges.

Trooper Darryl L. Haywood, 49, of Palm Coast, a four-year veteran of the FHP and a retired New York City homicide detective, died at the scene of the 1:38 p.m. crash on I-4, about 5 miles east of State Road 44 and a few miles west of the Interstate 95 interchange.

"He was a real quiet guy but always helping us," said Trooper Albert Pratts, who graduated from the FHP Academy in Tallahassee with Haywood in September 2000.

Haywood was pursuing a motorcyclist who was "driving at a high rate of speed" on the eastbound lanes of the interstate. Investigators suspect that a right rear tire on his 2001 Chevrolet Camaro cruiser blew, causing the patrol car to hit a 2001 Audi driven by Thomas Evanchik, 24, of Daytona Beach, according to the FHP.

"The car was so mangled, they just don't know yet," said Trooper Kim Miller, an agency spokeswoman.

The patrol car then flipped several times and slammed into a tree on the south side of the interstate.

Evanchik was taken to Halifax Medical Center with minor injuries, according to Miller.

Another trooper saw a motorcyclist traveling at more than "150 mph" in the northbound lane of I-95. The motorcyclist was stopped by a St. Johns County deputy at a truck stop onCounty Road 210, according to the FHP.

"The motorcycle had a flat tire and he pulled in there to fix it when the deputy spotted him," Miller said.

Donald Williams, 38, of Seffner was being held in the St. Johns County Jail on a felony aggravated fleeing and eluding charge, Miller said. Williams was being questioned late Saturday and additional charges could be filed, Miller said.

Back at the grisly scene of Haywood's crash, troopers could be seen wiping tears from their eyes as they remembered their colleague.

On July 25, Haywood pulled a man from a burning vehicle after the driver lost control and struck a tree.

When Haywood arrived on the scene, the vehicle was on fire and the driver was still inside. Haywood broke a window on the car and pulled the driver to safety.

He was honored as Trooper of the Month for his actions, but it was just his way, according to his colleagues.

"He was retired from another agency so he already knew so much and he was always teaching us and encouraging us," Pratts said.

Pratts said his classmate served as an inspiration to others during the rigorous six-month academy training.

"He was one of the older guys and we always said 'If he can do it, we can do it,' " Pratts said. "We were the younger guys, so we knew if he could do it, we should be able to do it."

Haywood is survived by his wife Linda, two children and a grandchild.

 


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