Police Avoid Questioning Over Unidentified Crash Victims
SOUTH FULTON, GA- Wsbradio.com writes that Keith Meadows, the South Fulton Police Chief left a community forum that took place on the morning following a police chase that left three innocent bystanders dead. Meadows walked past reporters who were questioning him and drove away.*
Later the same day, the Georgia State Patrol released the news that the identities of the victims may not be determined for a matter of months.
The police department has dodged a number of questions about why the officer was in pursuit of a stolen Mercedes Benz at the time of the collision. The police vehicle struck a work van carrying six occupants. The van was making a left turn when it was struck by the police vehicle. The van caught on fire, and the police vehicle did as well. Three people sadly died in the fiery crash, and the other three people suffered injuries. The officer was able to exit his vehicle and was hospitalized with injuries.
The man driving the van, 25-year-old Gilmer Gomez-Lopez survived the crash and tried to give as much information about the victims in the van as possible. DNA from the deceased people’s family members will be needed to verify the identities of the victims. The family members live outside of the United States, meaning that it will take more time to complete the identification process.
Police have identified the officer as Deonte Walker, 25.
The police department’s policy for chasing stolen vehicles states that officers are permitted to pursue as long as they take “the public’s safety into consideration.” There are other departments in the Atlanta area that have stricter policies for police chases. In these locations,stolen vehicles cannot be pursued unless there is another factor, such as a driver who is believed to be actively violent and a greater risk to public safety than that which is imposed by a police chase.
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