No video made of fatal chase

  • Follow Metro

Sheriff Ronnie Strength said Monday that no videotape recording exists of a police chase that led to a fatal car wreck.

In response to a request from The Augusta Chronicle for a copy of a video recording of the Saturday crash, Sheriff Strength said the patrol car's video and audio recorders were inoperable that night.

"They went out on Feb. 29 and hadn't been sent out for repairs," Sheriff Strength said.

"It's not that unusual. We have 250 cameras, and they can go out at any time," he said.

He added that even if the camera had worked properly, he would not have permitted media outlets to have a copy "until the investigation is complete."

The chase, which involved sheriff's Deputy Anthony Gregory, resulted in the death of 42-year-old Laura Latimer of Augusta. A Chevrolet Blazer being chased by the deputy struck a car in which Ms. Latimer was a passenger at the intersection of Gordon Highway and Old Savannah Road. The Blazer's driver, Jamie Lee Clark, 19, of Jackson, pulled off after he had been stopped for running a traffic light in the 1200 block of Broad Street.

Deputy Gregory's supervisor twice told him to "break off" the chase, according to an audio account aired on WRDW-TV.

On Monday, Sheriff Strength re-emphasized that he stands by Deputy Gregory's actions as the sheriff's office and the Georgia State Patrol officials investigate the accident.

The sheriff describes such chases as a "necessary evil."

"You can't have a policy and say you're not going to pursue anyone because of course then everybody runs," he said. "This was a terrible, terrible accident, but the cause of this tragedy was the suspect's decision to flee."

Mr. Clark is charged with first-degree vehicular homicide, fleeing and attempting to elude, reckless driving, violation of learner's permit restriction and DUI, according to Sheriff Strength.

The sheriff said the deputy never acknowledged to dispatchers that he had heard an order to back off, which might mean the deputy could not hear his radio.

Deputy Gregory, 26, has worked for the Sheriff's Office for three years and initially worked as a jailer, Sheriff Strength said. The deputy remains fully employed and has not been suspended, the sheriff said.

"He has been a good employee," he said.

Reach Timothy Cox or Adam Folk at (706) 724-0851


AUDIO

- Listen to the police radio recording

Comments (179) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
pablanco
0
Points
pablanco 03/04/08 - 02:00 am
0
0
I smell a cover up.

I smell a cover up.

CoastalDawg
125
Points
CoastalDawg 03/04/08 - 03:09 am
0
0
Strange, isn't it, that the

Strange, isn't it, that the camera "went out" on the day before the chase? Of course, the person being chased has his own share of the blame but the fact is that a chase was made in traffic over what has been said to be a traffic offense - unacceptable in any fashion and it becomes MORE unacceptable when a deputy sheriff can't hear the transmissions from his dispatcher - something smells here to high heaven. Once the deputy had the tag number and any other information on the offender it would have been easy enough to get a warrant for the arrest and include fleeing to elude police. As of this time, no other charges seems to be forthcoming so according to the report an innocent woman lost her life because someone ran a red light in the city and a policeman decided to pursue through traffic. I think the sheriff has to come up with more than he's said so far if he wants to appease the public and that woman's family.

wsm141
115
Points
wsm141 03/04/08 - 04:31 am
0
0
It's real easy to second

It's real easy to second guess the actions of others. Step in their shoe's and knock yourselves out. Had the perp just stopped none of this would have happened. Plain and simple. It's extremely tragic that this woman lost her life over a 19 year olds stupidity!!! However, as Sheriff Strength said if you can't chase'm then they all run. They had no way of knowing who was driving that vehicle. Just because they had a tag number doesnt mean the owner was driving.

Ole School
0
Points
Ole School 03/04/08 - 05:03 am
0
0
i smell someone protecting

i smell someone protecting and serving the public !

Nostradamas
0
Points
Nostradamas 03/04/08 - 05:04 am
0
0
Some lawyer is about to make

Some lawyer is about to make alot of money.

jamesj
0
Points
jamesj 03/04/08 - 05:32 am
0
0
Ole School, I cant see the

Ole School, I cant see the "protecting" your talking about... Someones dead and the Camera AND audio just happened to go out on the 1 of 250 that was in that chase. Yea right. Good ole boys back at it....

chatty814
0
Points
chatty814 03/04/08 - 06:01 am
0
0
good ole boys back at it?

good ole boys back at it? they never stopped!!!

BR549
2
Points
BR549 03/04/08 - 06:06 am
0
0
What is being covered up? The

What is being covered up? The tapes have been played, it has been said that the suspect was stopped and then fled. The 29th was a Friday, the deputy's regular off day. He went to work Saturday. The cameras in the cars are junk (low bid, and all). There are times when 3 or 4 per shift are out of service at any one time. Even though they are sent to the shop for repair, the may need to be taken out tof the car, or if left in the car, parts need to be ordered. The facts have been laid out, What is being covered up?

Craig Spinks
817
Points
Craig Spinks 03/04/08 - 06:29 am
0
0
Who was driving the car which

Who was driving the car which struck Mrs. Latimer killing her? The little b________-driver was not compelled to run. He's the one who should be the object of community outrage. Wonder for how long the little ______________ has been dismissing the instructions of authority figures like police, parents and teachers? Bet he didn't start Saturday night.

211lover
6
Points
211lover 03/04/08 - 06:45 am
0
0
Cover up? No I don't believe
Unpublished

Cover up? No I don't believe we are dealing with a conspiracy here. The cop did his job, the fugitive from justice decided he don't mind KILLING someone. Unfortunate that someone was killed but the bigger picture is this little child will be serving some time and at that age in prison will be a nightmare for him. Funny how in these days and times we MUST have video of every single incident for someone to believe that it's not a cover up. Grow up and get real, That cop did what anyone would do... catch the crazed drunk at what ever the cost! And before you say it is a lie and it is a cover up you BEST have your facts together otherwise you sound and look ignorant.

jackragg
0
Points
jackragg 03/04/08 - 06:49 am
0
0
I agree with 211lover.The

I agree with 211lover.The person to blame here is the idiot that ran.Get over your juvenile hatred of the police.If they didn't chase people hell I might even would rob a bank.It's called a deterrent.No penalty for the foul and everybody starts doing it.

sliique
0
Points
sliique 03/04/08 - 07:11 am
0
0
wsm141...Whatever is in YOUR

wsm141...Whatever is in YOUR water, I'd like some. Perpetual rose tinted cataracts, eh?

211lover...Your nick says it all, whatever 211 is. Obviously you got the hots for some moron wearing a uniform, probably a security guard at wally world. You say "the cop did his job." DUH!!!! Not so! And, just because he had the tag number doesn't mean the owner was driving? Come on!!!! The owner would haver known precisely WHO was driving. Huh? Stolen tag you say? Well, the cop had the registration, insurance papers in his cruiser, writing the ticket. Just another case of a cop, intoxicated by his delusional thinking that he is the all knowing law enforcement and what he says, goes. Especially, since he'd been a hack at the county hoosegow. Probably some inmate, fed up with his attitudes, whooped his ***.

heartablazing
28
Points
heartablazing 03/04/08 - 07:15 am
0
0
Not setting blame, but

Not setting blame, but listening to the audio of the chase the supervisor asked what charges the officer had,the officer said traffic charges. It then sounds as if the supervisor said break it off at the state line. The officer then responded with I have all his paper work. The supervisor said we will get warrants break it off. The chase was heading west away from the state line which could mean there was some type of confusion about the whole incident. Break it off could clearly be heard even with other transmissions coming over the radio.

CryoCyberTronics
392
Points
CryoCyberTronics 03/04/08 - 07:25 am
0
0
It's up to The Mayor of

It's up to The Mayor of Augusta-Richmond County, The County Commission, The DA, The Sheriff's Department Internal Affairs. The County Commissioner of the District of The Woman Whom was killed in the crash. The Woman's family, friends, and her supporters, The Public, Her Church Members, And most of all The Voters to make their voices heard that they want more action taken. Because not to long ago The R.C.S.D Stated that they were not going to pursue High Speed Chases in the future. After a High Speed Chase Crash that occurred in another accident on Gorden Highway. "How Soon Do We Forget" that an life was lost that time also...???

heartablazing
28
Points
heartablazing 03/04/08 - 07:34 am
0
0
slique all traffic cops start

slique all traffic cops start as turn keys at the county jail. That is a two year deal before being put into traffic. They don't just hand you a car and tell you to go write tickets.

Itll be alright
0
Points
Itll be alright 03/04/08 - 07:43 am
0
0
Car Chases ALWAYS HAVE the

Car Chases ALWAYS HAVE the potential to KILL INNOCENT VICTIMS. I hope it isn't someone in YOUR family NEXT TIME, to all you so called supporters of this CRIME. Cops know the potential going into a chase YET still decide to RISK a persons LIFE anyway. I hope they sue the Hell out of these folks!!!!!

211lover
6
Points
211lover 03/04/08 - 07:58 am
0
0
He was 19 and DUI. He was
Unpublished

He was 19 and DUI. He was destined to kill someone regardless! That was his goal in life at the time. Drinking and driving kill, he was a stone cold killer to begin with.

heartablazing
28
Points
heartablazing 03/04/08 - 07:58 am
0
0
angie1961 of course Richmond

angie1961 of course Richmond county will be sued, The 19 year olds insurance will try not to pay because he was charged with DUI and a driving permit violation which gives them just cause not to pay. The family would have to sue the 19 year old which will be like getting blood out of a turnip.

badmoon
0
Points
badmoon 03/04/08 - 07:58 am
0
0
I will repeat. All the

I will repeat. All the people complaining about the police undoubtly have brain maggots. No way they could have been born this stupid!!!!!

SilentJ
0
Points
SilentJ 03/04/08 - 07:59 am
0
0
I heard break it off twice as

I heard break it off twice as well and loud and clear.

211lover
6
Points
211lover 03/04/08 - 08:00 am
0
0
And as far as arguing with
Unpublished

And as far as arguing with someone on this platform with a childish mentality, I refuse. You have your opinion I have mine. Thank you.

badmoon
0
Points
badmoon 03/04/08 - 08:14 am
0
0
SilentJ, you have a copy of

SilentJ, you have a copy of your audio??

CKB
0
Points
CKB 03/04/08 - 08:33 am
0
0
This is tragic. I feel for

This is tragic. I feel for the woman's family, but I also feel for the deputy. No one has said that deputies have to put their own lives at risk to go after the idiots that do stupid things like drink and drive. And for a rediculous salary! It is so easy to second-guess these fine men and women in uniform. Bet the ones here pointing fingers at the deputy would not consider working in conditions they face daily.

Tall1
1
Points
Tall1 03/04/08 - 08:33 am
0
0
Support your local

Support your local sherriff... like you did when the raises were being pushed thru. Shame on all you who defend the perp. You run, you get chased, you kill someone, you burn. Maybe the victim should be criticized for not paying attention to traffic? Same thing you're doing to this honest cop. I saw a police chase up Washington Rd at noon less than two weeks ago. I pulled over, the chase went by, no harm, no foul. Maybe we should investigate the driver for cellphone use??? This crap happens, console the victims, be quietly outraged. But don't attack the cop, he didn't mean it.

pantherluvcik
628
Points
pantherluvcik 03/04/08 - 08:40 am
0
0
Fleeing suspects are fleeing

Fleeing suspects are fleeing for a reason, they are trying to get home to watch Oprah. They have done something or are doing something wrong. Clearly this was a horrible tragedy, and if this were someone in my family, i'd be angry. I think for minor traffic stops if they have his information they can pick him up anytime. They should have let him go and caught him later. Do I think they are covering up, yes. Do I think the officer should be punished, yes, but not fired. And yes police chases are necessary, but pick your battles wisely, lives are at stake. My prayers go out to the family and the officer involved. I know officers have a job to do, but this could have been you, me or one of my children in this car. Just out for a date or visit to a family member.

WHATDIDIDO
0
Points
WHATDIDIDO 03/04/08 - 08:43 am
0
0
Do not need a copy. All you

Do not need a copy. All you have to do is listen to it on several television sites. I am a very strong supporter of law enforcement. Having said that, IMHO they messed this one up. NO minor traffic offense is worth ANY human life. This was not a suspected rapist, murderer or known felon. The deputy clearly stated that he had enough information to track this person down. In this particular case, I feel that the deputy was wrong to chase.

pantherluvcik
628
Points
pantherluvcik 03/04/08 - 08:45 am
0
0
Luckily you had time and were

Luckily you had time and were able to pull over, they must not have been going 85 mph that day.

upset mom
0
Points
upset mom 03/04/08 - 08:49 am
0
0
There is something wrong when

There is something wrong when police officers refuse to do real police work by tracking down the perp via the license plate or prints once the perp abondoned the vehicle. The police should have backoffed and eventually the perp would have abandoned the vehicle. With the police continuing the chase he then put the perp under seige (4th amendment: search and seizure) causing all the perp's actions becoming the police responsibility. His supervisor claimed he told him twice to back off, but with adrenaline pumping he continued. who is wrong the perp who ran or the officer who disobey his superiors? Justice has to be served, an innocent woman lost her life because of lack of experience and renegade officers doing what they chose to do rather than following procedures.

karmakills123
8
Points
karmakills123 03/04/08 - 08:50 am
0
0
All of these defending the

All of these defending the drunk and jumping on the officer are the same ones who have problems with cops in general, they are your speeders and petty law breakers who have been caught or have a family member who is a crook and is more than likely in jail...they lay in wait for a tragedy like this and then come out from under their rocks to yell foul....and they will always be the first to yell for "the law" when THEY are in need.....sad & pitiful little people.

getagrip
0
Points
getagrip 03/04/08 - 08:52 am
0
0
This is extremely sad for the

This is extremely sad for the innocent loss. Chases are sometimes the necessary evil. This young man was DUI, a very inexperienced driver who should have not been driving without adult supervision. Who is to say that more lives could have been lost if the deputy had not pursued him.

Back to Top

Search Augusta jobs