West Memphis Officer Found Not at Fault in Girl's Death in Crash

MARCH 7, 2007 - Posted at 11:09 a.m. CST

WEST MEMPHIS, AR - An investigation by the Arkansas State Police has found that a West Memphis police officer was using his lights and siren as he sped to help another officer and fatally struck a teenage motorist who had pulled into his path.

Brittney Sitzes, 16, of West Memphis, died at a hospital a day after the February 21 accident.  Her nine-year-old sister was also in the car and was injured.

West Memphis Assistant Police Chief Mike Allen says 22-year-old patrol officer James Wright sustained chest and leg injuries and remains on leave.  An internal investigation by West Memphis police is continuing.

Wright was on his way to help an officer who had confronted four people accused of robbing two people who were selling magazines in front of a Wal-Mart store.

Officials say the crash occured as Wright was about to pass Sitzes' car.  As Wright's patrol car moved abreast, Sitzes tried to turn left, and the two vehicles collided.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)