Call A Free Consultation
24 Hours - 7 Days


Connect with us: facebook twitter google yelp

Fatal Car Accident Still Haunts Detective

Posted on October 22, 2012

Car accidents are more than just a nuisance. They are traumatic experiences that should never occur. Although car accidents can be unavoidable, they are usually preventable. When car accidents do occur, however, the results can be devastating.

Even though fatality car accidents can be devastating, something good can come always come out of them.

Русский: Столкнулись автомобили "Ока"...

Русский: Столкнулись автомобили “Ока” и “Форд-Фокус”. Водитель “Фокуса” не пострадал, в малолитражке трое травмированы. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Something about the case struck a nerve in Douglas County Sheriff’s detective Jay Armbrister, a 14-year veteran law enforcement officer, as he arrived on the scene of a drunken driving fatality accident on November 23, 2010.

In one of the cars, four friends had been traveling back to Lincoln, Nebraska, about 3:30 a.m. after seeing a Lawrence concert.

They’d made the right choices that night, with a designated driver behind the wheel of the Mazda 626.

As they drove north on U.S. Highway 24-59, a Toyota Tundra came speeding up behind them.

The driver of the truck, Zachary Harrison, a 22-year-old Air Force airman, had made some poor decisions.

The family of the young man killed that day, the man responsible for his death, and Armbrister have spent the last two years trying to heal and prevent such accidents in the future.

Paul and Shelley Freeman’s 21-year-old son, Cameron, was one of the passengers in the Mazda that morning.

After the accident, Paul said, his family made the decision to seek accountability, but not revenge.

Harrison, stationed in Arkansas but visiting his brother in Lawrence that night, was accused of stealing a newspaper carrier’s truck from Jayhawk Boulevard on the Kansas University campus early that morning and, while traveling at least 78 mph, eventually rammed into the back of the car Cameron was in, killing him and injuring three of his friends.

Harrison’s blood alcohol content after the accident was 0.183, more than twice the legal limit. He pleaded guilty to nine charges, including involuntary manslaughter, drunken driving and three counts of aggravated battery.

When deputies escorted Harrison, who was sentenced to six years in prison for the accident, out of the courtroom, Cameron’s mother, Shelley, told Harrison the family forgave him.

Instead of anger, the family focused their energy on compassion and healing, starting the Cameron Effect, a Web-based initiative that asks people to commit seven acts of kindness. Those who take part post updates to the site,

In what Armbrister calls his “first act of kindness,” he put together a presentation, available on YouTube, about the accident and has traveled to Lincoln to speak to colleges and other schools.

Armbrister said the presentation is his way of sharing tragedies with the broader community in an attempt to prevent accidents.

Armbrister has worked with the Freeman family to coordinate talks in their area and hopes to build on the project with local presentations.

As he was planning his presentation, Armbrister realized there was a missing piece: Harrison.

During his court appearances, Armbrister said he believed Harrison was remorseful and wanted to take responsibility for his actions.

One of the factors Armbrister points to is that Harrison had made some good decisions the evening before the accident, using a designated driver at some point. It still remains unclear how portions of the incident occurred. Harrison blacked out at some point during the evening, and that’s about the best explanation anyone’s received about the incident.

Armbrister wrote Harrison letters in prison after the sentencing. At first, Harrison didn’t respond.

But eventually, the two connected, and Armbrister traveled to the El Dorado Correctional Facility to see Harrison.

They’ve struck up an unusual friendship, and Armbrister sees Harrison’s journey as part of the larger story to Cameron’s death.

Harrison could be released as early as October 2016. When he gets out, Armbrister and Harrison plan to give the presentation together.

If a loved one was the victim of a car accident that resulted in a wrongful death, it is important that you contact a committed and dedicated personal injury lawyer to help you decide if you should file a lawsuit. A competent and reputable injury lawyer can help you receive the compensation you deserve for your pain and suffering.

News Service Disclaimer:iAccidentLawyer.comprovides this news service to keep you informed about accidents and events happening in and around your community. The information in these articles is obtained from a variety of secondary sources including press releases by law enforcement, websites, and news reports. This material is for general information only and its accuracy cannot be guaranteed; for complete details about a given event or accident you should refer to an official police report. may not represent the parties mentioned in these news articles. If you have been injured in the reported news article and you need our help please call, we can help you. The articles are for informational purposes only. Our law firm has been helping victims of serious injuries and their families for over 30 years. Call us for a free, no obligation consultation.

Lawyer Advertising. This website is designed for general information only, and in no way is intended to constitute legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship without a signed, written agreement. Testimonials or endorsements do not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of your legal matter. You pay no fees or costs unless we recover for you. This website contains dramatizations. Prior results are not a guarantee of a future outcome. iAccidentLawyer does not accept all cases and works cooperatively with co-counsel and/or other law firms with whom it has joint agreements who might potentially handle your cases. We look forward to helping you with your claim.

800-920-0810 on Facebook Follow Us On G+ Reviews