The authorities in Atlanta say a police officer is accused of violating no-chase policy regulations set by the department just before a fiery crash that claimed the lives of two people in Midtown on December 7.
Back in January, former police chief Erika Shields barred officers from pursuing vehicles after multiple high-speed chases caused the death of innocent motorists.
Atlanta Police Department spokesman Sgt. John Chafee said preliminary investigations showed that the officer who responded to a call about a stolen SUV broke the rules. However, he said a more in-depth probe would follow.
A Jaguar had been reported stolen at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis on Peachtree Center Avenue around 9:45 a.m.
Chafee said an officer saw the vehicle at the corner of John Portman Boulevard and Piedmont Avenue and started to follow it while informing colleagues about the SUV’s location and the direction in which it was heading.
When the driver stopped on Courtland Street, the policeman reportedly turned on his emergency lights and attempted to stop the car.
Chafee said the driver reversed and struck the patrol car before speeding off in the wrong direction on Courtland Street.
The vehicle subsequently hit a utility pole in the area of Juniper Street and 11th Street.
Chafee revealed that when officers arrived on the scene, they found the vehicle upside down and on fire.
A male exited the vehicle with his body engulfed in flames. Officers sprayed him with a fire extinguisher while firefighters handled the SUV.
The man was later identified as 23-year-old Donte Harris, the driver of the stolen vehicle. He succumbed to his injuries in hospital while his female passenger died at the scene.
It is not yet known if the officer involved in the incident will face disciplinary action for violating no-chase policy directives.
If you were injured in a crash caused by someone else’s actions, you may be entitled to compensation. A Georgia auto accident lawyer can help you.