GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – A South Carolina Highway Patrol trooper involved in a chase that ended in a deadly crash earlier this year has been fired.
An internal investigation found Trooper Austyn Vaughn violated the department’s pursuit policy and was untruthful about it, but it was the untruthfulness that cost him his job.
“Even though it says he was simply lying, he was lying about a policy and procedure that he did not adhere to, and that’s the reason why we have a tragic loss of life,” said local activist Bruce Wilson, who has been in touch with the family of the man killed in the crash, Michael Mansell.
Mansell was killed when the car he was a passenger in ran off an exit ramp onto Augusta Road, hit a concrete wall, and traveled down an embankment after a two mile chase.
After the chase, Vaughn’s supervisor asked him over the radio, “Were you 10-0?,” which is code for being involved in a pursuit. “I never heard any kind of radio traffic in reference to that.” Vaughn responded saying, “Negative I was trying to catch up.”
According to the S.C. Department of Public Safety’s Policy, an officer must immediately notify the telecommunications center if they’re chasing someone. An internal investigation found Vaughn never did that.
“You have to remember that what he lied about is calling in the pursuit, and we don’t believe that a supervisor would have allowed him to continue a pursuit over someone going 15 miles per hour over the speed limit,” Wilson said.
Documents from the S.C. Criminal Justice Academy state that after the dash cam from the incident was reviewed, Vaughn acknowledged for the first time that he was chasing the car before it crashed.
An attorney representing Mansell’s estate declined to comment.
The driver of the car that crashed, Kent Washington, is facing charges of felony DUI and failure to stop for blue lights resulting in death. He was already found guilty for driving under suspension, according to records.