According to authorities, a Sanford police officer could face charges in connection to an automobile accident in which one person suffered fatal personal injuries while the officer was off duty on the morning of January 21.

The North Carolina Highway Patrol said that Capt. Reginald Petty was driving a Cadillac south on Horner Boulevard just after 8 a.m. when he rear-ended a Chevrolet S-10 pickup truck that had slowed to make a left turn near Hill Avenue. The pickup went into the northbound lane and was struck on the side by a Toyota SUV.


The pickup’s driver, 61-year-old Sanford resident William Thomas, died in transit to Central Carolina Hospital. Petty received hospital transport for injuries not considered to be life-threatening. The SUV’s driver, Sanford resident Nancy Pajdo, was not injured.


Sanford police originally responded to the accident, but asked the Highway Patrol to step in and investigate upon learning of Petty’s involvement.


Troopers said speed may have been a factor, but the accident reconstruction team needs to determine exactly what happened and each vehicle’s speed.

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