Georgia Police Department Amends Chase Policy After Fatal Crash
SOUTH FULTON, GA. – According to an online news report from ajc.com,Georgia’s South Fulton Police Department has amended its chase policy after a November 11 police chase crash killed three men. The changed policy is meant to “honor” the victims, according to the South Fulton police chief.*
On November 11, 2018 South Fulton Police officer Deontae Walker was chasing the driver of a stolen Mercedes Benz on Jonesboro Road. Near the Ga. 138 and Interstate 85 intersection, a work van crossed into Walker’s path. The police cruiser struck the side of the van, and the van flipped and caught fire. Three people in the van died in the crash, and three others were injured. Walker was also injured and treated at a local hospital. He has been released from the hospital and is on paid leave.
The victims have been identified as 22-year-old Clemente Flores, of Dallas, Texas, 22-year-old Marcus Martin (city not reported), and 20-year-old Camerino Sanchez Hernandez (city not reported). The survivors of the crash have been identified as 25-year-old Gilmar Gomez-Lopez, of Atlanta, Georgia, 26-year-old Menfil Martin Perez, of Chamblee, Georgia, and Victor Chavez (age and city not reported).
The crash is still under investigation by Georgia State Patrol, and liability has not yet been determined. Walker said his lights and sirens were on at the time, but the driver of the van told police he did not hear any sirens or see any lights. The driver and other witnesses said the van was making a left turn on a green light, and the police cruiser had a red light.
The incident prompted the South Fulton Police Department to release its chase policy to the public. The policy said a stolen vehicle was a justifiable reason to give chase, but now the police department has amended that policy to say that stolen vehicles alone are not enough for chase. Officers will need another reason that the fleeing driver is a danger to the public.
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