Houston County Sheriff Andy Hughes recently suspended a corrections officer for his involvement in a traffic crash that left a county inmate dead.
Hughes reprimanded Michael Brian Shelley, 25, for misuse of a department vehicle during the fatal crash on July 22, which happened near Kilby Prison close to Montgomery.
Terry Irvin, 39, died after the Houston County Sheriff’s van he was traveling in collided with what authorities have called a dump truck. Hughes previously released copies of the accident report prepared by Alabama State Troopers, which indicated the corrections officer ran a red light and was talking on his cellular phone at the time of the crash. The report said Shelley used the phone to call the Houston County Jail.
Hughes suspended Shelley for one day without pay, which he will serve Friday. He cited running the red light and using a cell phone as the misuses of the vehicle.
“It’s important to understand we’re not punishing him because there was a death,” Hughes said. “We’re punishing him because of his actions which caused the accident to begin to with.”
Hughes said the decision was made after Alabama state troopers found Shelley to be the primary contributing or at fault vehicle in the crash. He also called it reckless disregard for safety and careless use of a department vehicle.
Hughes said the suspension came as a result of a disciplinary hearing Friday held in front of Houston County Jail Commander Keith Reed. Hughes also took into account the fact Shelley had no prior accidents or write-ups on his record as a corrections officer. He has worked as a corrections officer for Houston County for about 10 months.
No one has been charged in the crash, but Montgomery County District Attorney Ellen Brooks previously said it would likely be presented to a grand jury.
Shelley had picked up Irvin to bring him back to Houston County for a court hearing the next day on a pending robbery charge. Hughes said Shelley was on his way to Ventress Correctional facility to pick up another inmate at the time of the crash.
The crash happened around 7:30 p.m. One of the traffic lights at the intersection had apparently not been working. The remaining light was clearly visible, according to the report.
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