Ga. police ID comatose suspect by fingerprints

SAVANNAH, Ga. -- A biometric fingerprinter helped law enforcement officials identify a comatose Savannah man, whose family refused to help police ID him after the car he was driving wrecked in nearby Pooler.


The car Terrance Rashawn Simmons, 20, wrecked was stolen, police say. The wreck left him in a coma.

Simmons had been released from Chatham County jail in February after serving more than five months for violating probation. Police say family members at Memorial University Medical Center and the passenger in Simmons' car would not help them figure out who he is.

Pooler police called in the Chatham County sheriff's office, whose officers brought a mobile biometric fingerprinting device to the hospital and ran Simmons' fingerprints through the Georgia Crime Information Center, the National Crime Information Center and the Department of Homeland Security's terror watch list. The search showed identified Simmons by fingerprints he'd given to Savannah Chatham Metro police and the Dodge County sheriff's office.

The Chatham County sheriff's office received the mobile ID device two weeks ago and uses a fixed biometric fingerprinter at the office's street operations division to check registered sex offenders and people brought in on an outstanding warrant. The office recently received a $22,000 homeland security grant to buy more biometric fingerprinters.

"Technology never ceases to amaze me," Sheriff Al St Lawrence is quoted as saying in a news release. "This is just another tool we have to check someone out. I think every law enforcement officer should have one."




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