We have posted in the past on difficult circumstances that can arise in a police or other law enforcement chase. Sometimes other vehicles or pedestrians end up injured or worse when law enforcement is in hot pursuit of a suspected offender.
We know that Georgia law requires that we as drivers not only move over for police or other emergency vehicles, but also to stop when we are pulled over as soon as feasible. As an Atlanta highway accident lawyer, I know that our roads and highways are congested and difficult to maneuver even in the best of circumstances. Any loss of life that can be avoided, should be.
Last week, the AJC reported that a Henry County teenager lost her life after the driver of the vehicle she was riding in tried to elude the Georgia State Patrol. This young woman was only 19 years old. She was a passenger in a late model Toyota Corolla driven by a 21-year old. He was driving on I-85 and failed to stop when an attempt was made by a sheriff's deputy to pull him over. A Georgia State Patrol trooper continued the pursuit and at one point the driver lost control of the car.
The young man's car actually struck the GSP vehicle and then rolled ultimately hitting a tree. The trooper was not harmed in the crash, but the driver had to be taken to a hospital in South Carolina for injuries described as critical.
Georgia law prohibits drivers from fleeing or attempting to elude police officers. Under Official Code of Georgia Annotated section 40-6-395, it is "unlawful for any driver of a vehicle willfully to fail or refuse to bring his or her vehicle to a stop or otherwise to flee or attempt to elude a pursuing police vehicle or police officer when given a visual or an audible signal to bring the vehicle to a stop. The signal given by the police officer may be by hand, voice, emergency light, or siren. The officer giving such signal shall be in uniform prominently displaying his or her badge of office, and his or her vehicle shall be appropriately marked showing it to be an official police vehicle." A violation of this provision can result in fines and potentially a prison sentence.
Since the attempt to flee involved the death of another person, the driver will most likely be charged with crimes that are quite serious, perhaps even more than whatever he might have been pulled over for in the first instance. It is quite possible that he will be charged with homicide by vehicle which is found in the Official Code of Georgia Annotated section 40-6-393 and provides in part that a driver who causes a fatal injury can be charged with a homicide by vehicle.