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Family grieves two deaths in crash; off-duty Memphis police officer charged

Published: Jun. 29, 2021 at 9:49 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - A Memphis police officer turned himself in after a deadly crash Friday where investigators say he was driving 114 miles an hour.

The officer who was off duty at the time is charged with vehicular homicide.

“Our family has been destroyed. We will never be the same. I just thank God he turned himself in and we just want justice to be served,” said Wilma Wilkes, the victims’ cousin.

Wilkes and her family want justice fir her cousins, 19-year-old Travis Parham and his 42-year-old uncle, Wallace Morris, who were remembered in a vigil in front of the spot where they were killed on Walnut Grove near Timber Creek Drive. They were pulling out onto Walnut Grove when investigators say off-duty officer Antonio Marshall hit their Bonneville so hard that it split into two pieces.

Police say Marshall had slowed from 114 to 99 miles an hour when he hit the Bonneville. Police got that information from his Dodge Charger’s computer system. The front half of the Bonneville was dragged 200 yards by Marshall’s car.

People like Daeja Skinner, who works nearby, say excessive speeding is common on Walnut Grove where the speed limit is 45.

“People race up and down this road all the time, especially over this little bridge there off Germantown, people will gun it. I don’t know why they race a lot,” said Skinner.

Marquise Sawyer Lives nearby.

“Every time I come home from work, going this direction, there’s always a fender bender,” he said.

City council member Ford Canale has introduced an ordinance to curtail speeding and drag racing. He says it’s the number one complaint he gets from constituents.

“We’re asking our citizens to slow down and asking police to enforce it, and then we have one of our own officers driving off-duty in his own vehicle commit the very crime we are asking people to stop committing. And unfortunately cost two lives,” said Canale.

It’s a horrible realization for the family.

“We’re doing the the best we can. We are basically trying to uplift each other.”

Marshall is scheduled to make his first court appearance Wednesday.

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