I was shocked to see that this week another totally innocent Georgia citizen died needlessly in another police chase on Metropolitan Atlanta streets. It all started simply on the basis of a report of a “suspicious vehicle” in front of a home in Cobb County. Cobb County, Georgia officers spotted the vehicle, a Chevrolet station wagon, on Barrett Parkway and tried to pull over the driver. The officers failed at an attempt to “box it in” and pursued the car in a high speed chase. During the chase a big screen tv fell out of the station wagon. The officers continued their high speed chase up I-575, a highly traveled road between Cobb and Cherokee Counties in Georgia. The station wagon sped up I-575 until it crossed over the grass median near Bells Ferry Road, striking a four-door Buick that was southbound on the interstate. The female driver of the Buick was killed and several of her passengers were severely injured. To read the news article on this, click here.
I think part of the real crime here is that an innocent Georgia citizen died, apparently, because some vehicle had a big screen tv in it. To compound that crime, the innocent Georgia citizen’s family will, most likely, never see any justice for her needless death. This is because Georgia courts, and even the United States Supreme Court has said that these types of high speed police chases, essentially, are acceptable and that police departments can not be held responsible for the loss of innocent life as a result of these chases, even where such a chase my have violated the police department’s own policies and procedures. In a recent Georgia Court of Appeals case, in which fellow GTLA member Dennis Cathey represented the plaintiffs, the Court held the police department had immunity from a lawsuit by the family of an innocent victim of a police high speed chase. More recently, the United States Supreme Court held in a case that occurred here in Georgia, in which the Plaintiff was represented by fellow GTLA member Craig Jones, such high speed chases are allowable, even though they may violate department policies and procedures.
The result of all this is that the families of these innocent victims will never be able to realize any justice from their senseless deaths and streets in Metropolitan Atlanta will only get less and less safe for the law-abiding Georgia citizens. And all for a big screen tv.