DETROIT (WJBK) - Speed was a primary factor in the violent crash that took the life of a Detroit police officer Tuesday morning, Chief James Craig said.
"What we know, is, the contributing factors in this fatal crash: speed, a red light was ran, and then lost control," Craig said, nearly 24 hours after the crash.
Officer Darren Weathers was alone in his car, participating in a training exercise along Michigan Avenue, when he crashed. A team member was following behind and witnessed the crash, and called the accident in.
Craig said on Tuesday and again on Wednesday that another vehicle was involved in the crash. He did not specify if Weathers or the other driver ran the red light, but said the initial impact between the two cars caused Weathers' car to go airborne and hit either a metal pylon or a brick wall. That second impact is what split the car in half, Craig said.
Craig said they're not sure at this time if Weathers was speeding as part of the training exercise, or if he was speeding to catch up with the training exercise.
Regardless, Craig told FOX 2 Wednesday the training shouldn't have been done on Michigan Avenue.
"We don't do training in uncontrolled environments. We're taking a look at that; that's certainly a concern of mine," he said.
Craig says they are conducting a fatal accident investigation, but also conducting an internal probe.
"This happened yesterday. We're moving forward vigorously," Craig said. "Interviews are being done and we'll make some decisions."
Craig says Weathers was part of a specialized surveillance integrity team, so he wasn't wearing a body cam at the time. His car wasn't outfitted with a dash cam either. Craig says they're scouring the area for possible surveillance video of the crash.
Weathers was in the news just last summer when a video of him playing basketball in the street with some neighborhood kids went viral.
Chief Craig also said Weathers was the partner of Detroit Officer Waldis Johnson, who was shot in the head while responding to a domestic violence call several months ago. Johnson is still alive, and Craig credited his survival to Weathers' courageous actions.
Weathers was also recognized in December at the Above and Beyond Ceremony held by the Detroit Public Safety Foundation.