THP investigating fatal crash involving off-duty Murfreesboro police officer

The crash happened June 4 on I-24. (WSMV)

The Tennessee Highway Patrol is investigating whether an off-duty Murfreesboro Police officer caused a fatal wreck on I-24 in Rutherford County.

A Channel 4 I-Team investigation has confirmed the officer hit the back of a stopped vehicle, and THP is trying to figure out why.

The victim’s family wants to know why no one has even received a ticket.

Because of this wreck, three members of the same family were seriously injured, and one woman was killed.

Through their attorney, the Nigro and Goins families said they hope the wreck is being investigated fairly given the driver’s status as a police officer.

What was supposed to be the end of a great Tennessee vacation would be the last trip of Dianne Nigro’s life.

“It was the most senseless death that I think I have probably ever seen,” said Sam Tyree, who was driving on I-24 in Murfreesboro at the time of the crash on June 4.

Tyree said he was driving 70 mph alongside a black truck. He said when he spotted traffic ahead he started braking, but the black truck never slowed down.

“The truck just barreled right on by me and it didn’t look like he was going to stop,” Tyree said. “I watched him, and I slowed down and he just plowed right into the back of basically a vehicle that was standing still.”

Jason McGriff was the driver of that black truck, according to a THP crash report taken the day of the crash.

McGriff is an officer for the Murfreesboro Police Department.

The report states McGriff was “unable to stop,” but a THP spokesman would not elaborate why, pending the ongoing investigation.

The document indicates McGriff hit the Nigros' car, which was stopped.

Tyree ran to help. He also documented the aftermath.

“They needed help, and I knew they needed help,” Tyree said. “They were not in good shape.”

In the front seat, Tyree said he found Shane Nigro and his wife, Robbie, who was unconscious and had slipped out of her seat belt.

Their aunt, Linda Goins, was sitting in the back seat.

But Tyree said the passenger in the worst shape was Shane’s mother, Dianne.

All four people in the Nigros' car, as well as McGriff, were hospitalized. All survived but Dianne.

“I sat there and cried,” Tyree said. “She was just traveling with her family, got rear ended and died. She wasn’t planning on it, it just happened.”

The Nigro and Goins families issued a statement to the I-Team through their attorney, Matt Hardin.

“We hope that the wreck is being investigated fairly given that Mr. McGriff, who crashed into our family’s car, works as a police officer in Rutherford County,” the email read. “We continue to try to make sense of our loss and help our family members heal. We ask for your prayers as we continue to cope with this tragedy.”

Lt. Travis Plotzer, a THP spokesman, said investigators "have and will maintain" contact with the district attorney's office as the investigation progresses.

"As you know the investigation is still ongoing and it takes time for a crash investigation to be concluded," Plotzer wrote in an e-mail.

While the THP investigates the crash, McGriff has returned to work.

McGriff joined the Murfreesboro Police Department in April, so McGriff is still in the Field Training Officer program. That means he’s supervised by a field training officer and supervisor.

In emails, Murfreesboro police spokesman Sgt. Kyle Evans wrote, “We expect employees to obey the law on and off duty…we are waiting for the THP investigation to conclude before we decide whether any employment action is warranted.”

All Tyree knows is someone should be held accountable.

“Because of that, I had to go through what I did. I had to watch a woman die,” Tyree said. “I had to watch several people injured, and nobody should have to go through that. The family is going to deal with this for the rest of their lives.”

The crash report states after getting hit, the Nigros' car crashed into another vehicle.

Luckily, no one was seriously hurt in that third car.

The report also indicates it had been raining that day. No charges have been filed at this time.

Evans said McGriff is fully cooperating with the investigation.

Evans and McGriff both declined requests for an interview.

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