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.
TakeAstand
13
Points
TakeAstand 03/04/08 - 03:18 pm
0
0
I'm not the one dogging out

I'm not the one dogging out the police, struck. I would be terribly upset if it happened to my family member, all I am saying is dont forget about the criminal who is ultimately responsible.. and just because some lowlifes you knew in school became cops does not mean they are all bad and out to intentionally kill people!!! The people running their mouths cop bashing, most of them, could care less about the victim or the situation, its just another chance to bash cops in general just like you did.. if there was at least compassion for the incident at hand in your post, I would have not said a word. But even if this guy did make a mistake.. it does not mean he or the rest of the officers who put on "cop suits" are a bunch of criminals to be bashed like you do. It just makes me sick to see people who really dont care about the issues at hand to run off at the mouth about cops, consipracys and other things, not ever once mentioning the sorry criminal who made the decision that changed so many peoples lives. People show such disrespect and distain towards police and 3/4's of them probably only feel that way due to illegal activity they or ones they know participate in. And no I have no family memebrs that are officers, I just have a family that obeys the law and we have even fell victim to dirty officers and judges, but also have been wronged by dr's, mechanics, cooks at waffle house, manager at wal mart etc... that does not mean everyone in the world sux!!! lol And sorry about the stab to the name and the shut up, I was just copying lol, I dont usually do that! =) I just get a lil mad when hard working officers are portrayed as villians and grouped together as a bad profession.

NewsBug
0
Points
NewsBug 03/04/08 - 03:20 pm
0
0
As usual the family wants to

As usual the family wants to go after the MONEY instead of the person who is really at fault!

melmel
0
Points
melmel 03/04/08 - 03:21 pm
0
0
disappointed taxpayer, I know

disappointed taxpayer,
I know allot of both Richmond and Columbia Co law enforcement officers and to my knowledge they rank about the same! The only differnce is the $$$$$

1trugent
0
Points
1trugent 03/04/08 - 03:25 pm
0
0
Dani, you are correct. He

Dani, you are correct. He was told to break it off only at the state line. There was a chance the driver was going to flee across the 5th St. bridge since his registration was from S.C.. He radioed that in and that's when his supervisor told him to break it off. The deputy radioed back in that he had his D.L. and his supervisor told him again to break it off there and take out a warrant, however, the driver fled down Gordon Hwy. instead and that's why you never heard the supervisor a third, fourth, fifth or so. He was old told to break it off at the state line. If his supervisor insisted that he break it off regardless of the driver's direction of travel, then he should have made that clear. I was listening that night and I know. Don't care what the rest of you heard on the news or your scanners. Dani is correct.

darth_froggy
0
Points
darth_froggy 03/04/08 - 03:29 pm
0
0
I really don't care. I enjoy

I really don't care. I enjoy making fun of Hillary's pathetic breakdown and evil, opportunistic disposition. Take THAT! you slimy, diseased, corrupt sleazebag, Hillary!

dani
12
Points
dani 03/04/08 - 03:29 pm
0
0
Buick. The County doesn't

Buick. The County doesn't have any pockets. The pockets belong to the taxpayers and they are already taxed to death . Do you not pay taxes?

scob
0
Points
scob 03/04/08 - 03:31 pm
0
0
Maybe I am wrong, but this is

Maybe I am wrong, but this is a part of a bigger issue. People today do not respect anything or anyone. I we stopped pampering prisoners it would stop some of this. Right now, if you are to go prison, you get everything provided for you. You can get an education, free health and dental care, free room and board with meals. While hard working people pay for your welfare they suffer or do without. It is a tragedy that someone died due to an idiot. Don't crucify the deputy, he was just doing his job. What did you want him to do? The worlds full of "What IF". If we don't stop pampering criminals we will pay a greater price than anyone can imagine. Criminals have more rights than our troops do, why is that?

TakeAstand
13
Points
TakeAstand 03/04/08 - 03:42 pm
0
0
Well put scob... Amen to

Well put scob... Amen to that!!! Bless you and the rest of us who think we need to take control of these criminals and make more deterrants!!!

intheknow
16
Points
intheknow 03/04/08 - 03:42 pm
0
0
Scumrider, it was CLEAR that

Scumrider, it was CLEAR that the supervisor intent was for the chase to be broken off. Having said that, I can understand how confusing it may have been for the deputy. I also questioned why Sgt. Steptoe, if his intent was to end the chase, did not repeat his orders after realizing that they were not being followed.

JAndy
4
Points
JAndy 03/04/08 - 03:47 pm
0
0
A chase can kill? You ever

A chase can kill? You ever dropped your trash can off in a busy neighborhood where the "kids" drive the road like they own it? Every citizen has the right to be in the wrong place at the right time. There is no solution to a criminal element. In this day and age you either face a record high of traffic or a man with a gun. Let' not forget the stranger breaking into your house tonight. Let's not forget the man taking your car at knife point. Lets not leave out the dope dealer selling drugs to your child. But god forbid let the police chase down the criminal that just completed one of the violations of law that put him in chase to begin with. If the deputy does his job someone is likely to be harmed. If he don't someone is likely to be harmed. You are right the Deputy had the right to break off the chase. It is also his decision to chase. However, it is the decision of the violator to INITIATE the chase. Put the blame solely on the source. The driver of the car being chased. As I said in an earlier post there is only one thing I don't like about the chase. The deputy had his driver's license. Warrants should have been issued as opposed to the chase.

fed-up
0
Points
fed-up 03/04/08 - 03:50 pm
0
0
You know I am really sick and

You know I am really sick and tired of all the comments blaming the deputy.If he hadn't done anything about it then everyone would be whining about that too.Point IS it's the one breaking the law who is to blame. As for all the other comments about the deputies thinking they are holier than thou.Sure there are some out there like that but the majority are just out there trying to do their job and for very little pay I might add. If all those complaining think they could do a better job why don't you give it a try.

Bootsie
0
Points
Bootsie 03/04/08 - 03:55 pm
0
0
I think you guys may want to

I think you guys may want to check out channel 12 website. According to them , they have stated that there was a white vehical that was hauled off imediatley , their were three wittnesses that seen everything and said the "white car" was involved....well, they have been detained for releasing that information.Who does this "white car" belong to, kind of sounds like someone is tring to cover up a mistake. Also , if the sgt requested him to pull back AND STOP AT THE STATE LINE , why was the dept respond "BUT I HAVE HIS DRIVERS LICENSE AND REGISTRATION".The sgt then responded per channel 12 news to issue a warent and break the chase. Could this be selective hearing?

1trugent
0
Points
1trugent 03/04/08 - 03:55 pm
0
0
His intent was to have him

His intent was to have him break it off at the state line. Its that simple. That's why he didn't repeat the order.

Waymore
103
Points
Waymore 03/04/08 - 04:07 pm
0
0
The channel 12 website didn't

The channel 12 website didn't state anything about a "white car" being involved. It is a post from someone making that ludicrous statement. I'm sure if this mysterious "white car" was involved, GSP would know about it during their investigation. As far as detaining the "witnesses", this is 2008, not 1908. I challenge the poster, I believe the name was "Tonya" and "John", to provide the names of those "detained."

disappointed taxpayer
0
Points
disappointed taxpayer 03/04/08 - 04:13 pm
0
0
melmel, I ONLY hope Your

melmel, I ONLY hope Your Mother, Wife, or Daughter is not KILLED in an unnessary auto chase. Also You must be Dumber than a sack of rocks. You must be one of them. If someone you know gets wrongly accused and locked up in jail by our great Richmond County Police, Try And bail they out. They will make you wait outside in the cold and rain. Not so in Columbia county.You should know Loser.

TakeAstand
13
Points
TakeAstand 03/04/08 - 04:20 pm
0
0
There was no call for that

There was no call for that disappointedtaxpayer. I see a pattern of name calling and in general bad behavior and disrespect coming from those enjoying the cop bashing. I think people like you make our points for us. and I agree their jailors down there have a few who do not need to be there, they abuse their power, but at the same time, some of those officers you group in that category would give their life to protect yours. There does need to be some cleaning house in RC, bu they are not all bad. If that was the case... we would have no MCG it should be closed down, because of the 100 or so dr's I've seen maybe only 5-10 should even be allowed to practice with the way they treat patients. There is bad in every profession.

intheknow
16
Points
intheknow 03/04/08 - 04:21 pm
0
0
Are you Sgt. Steptoe? I doubt

Are you Sgt. Steptoe? I doubt it. So you can only state your opinion as to what his INTENT was.

rdbike
47
Points
rdbike 03/04/08 - 04:22 pm
0
0
Did the officer not hear his

Did the officer not hear his supervisor tell him to break it off or was it the officer's ego not allowing him to comply? I wonder?

TakeAstand
13
Points
TakeAstand 03/04/08 - 04:35 pm
0
0
It was the supervisor was

It was the supervisor was unlear of his intent and never bothered to say it again the next 3 minutes of the chase that he knew was continuing.. so it can be interpreted different ways... He tried to do his job and catch a criminal that deserved to be caught. Hindsight is 20/20 on the actions taken, but I do not feel there was ever any "ego rush" attempt to stop this guy at all costs. There was a decision made right or wrong that unfortunatly ended a life, but one thing we do know is it would have been prevented had the criminal not been breaking the law!!! We need stiffer penalties for those who flee like that and drunk drivers... too!!!!!!

jackragg
0
Points
jackragg 03/04/08 - 04:36 pm
0
0
Better yet AugustaVoter why

Better yet AugustaVoter why don't some of you go out and spend some time with the local deputies and see what a crap job it is let alone have everybody hate you (for no good reason) and second guess your every action.Spend hours having people lie to you and insult your intelligence.Think you can do better?I don't.I've been to jail several times and I don't hate the police.You know why?Because I did something wrong and am adult enough to admit it.Most people I encounter who hate the police are the same people that think all the bad things that happen to them are somebody else's fault. I find it funny that if there wasn't any police protection most of you punks would be the first to go.

PLAYLIKETHUNDER4
0
Points
PLAYLIKETHUNDER4 03/04/08 - 04:44 pm
0
0
that cop took a gamble that

that cop took a gamble that he could catch the driver, and damn it all, what he was gambling with is the lives and well being of every single person in every single car they blew past at 80 mph....it was not worth it, and he rolled the dice and lost.
the driver did not have the right to run-any fool knows that- but the cop , who is not intoxicated,not mentally impaired(hopefully) made one more hell of a bad decsion to chase this car...all he had to do was notify the higher ups to apb his [filtered word] and north augusta would have caught and detained him, and a certain augusta family would not have had their lives changed by a deciscion that should not even be a deciscion-the damn concept of "cops" has gone too damn far-this ain't 1888, where you call out the damn posse and go chasing out across the countryside.this is so stupid, the chase scenario needs to be abolished....and there's a family close by that will agree.
btw, all i've read so far indicates an illegal u-turn, not a ran red light.an illegasl u-turn.....damn that's what,a cut above jay walking?????

DoubleD
0
Points
DoubleD 03/04/08 - 04:55 pm
0
0
I'll say it. I live in

I'll say it. I live in Richmond County and this place is Ghetto as hell, that's why people don't know what to say or how to act...or even how to speak. I could go on about the service you get at the few "nice" dining facilities we have here, such as the Applebee’s on Peach Orchard. Most everyone from the customers to the management, black and white, are ghetto minded and ignorant all the way up to the city officials. So stop crying and wondering what is wrong with Augusta. That is what's wrong! People who want to act out, but have self-pity and want everyone to feel sorry for them. A person is dead and all the family wants is money not justice. I'd be willing to bet the sisters didn't get along and now big sis was the closest relative. Get real people. I can't wait to leave this place behind, but for now I have volunteered to serve my country to include Augusta, and have been assigned here. Watch idiocracy, you will realize America is in trouble. The first 10 min. show how a good couple plan and wait for the right time to have children, which may take years. While at the same time the rednecks are spittin out a dozen kids without a care. Dumb butts breed faster!

melmel
0
Points
melmel 03/04/08 - 05:04 pm
0
0
If he was told to BREAK THE

If he was told to BREAK THE CHASE OFF AT THE STATE LINE, HE WAS A GOOD WAYS AWAY WHEN THE WRECK OCCURED!
Does anyone know where the wreck actually happened!?

DoubleD
0
Points
DoubleD 03/04/08 - 05:07 pm
0
0
melmel, people are only going

melmel, people are only going to listen to what they've been told, rather than listen to the audio or find out the location to where it occured. C'mon don't expect rational logic from people. I understand you though. lol

melmel
0
Points
melmel 03/04/08 - 05:11 pm
0
0
Damn Double D, Will you do

Damn Double D,
Will you do all of us REDNECKS AND GHETTO folks a FAVOR!?
GET THE HELL OUT OF GEORGIA! I'm sure you are a Damn Yankee aren't you!?
My dad retired E-9 CSM. he was in the Army for 30 yrs. And now we have retards like you serving our Country!
How old are you Double D? 17 1/2 and let me guess, you joined the Military in order for them to pay YOUR way thru college RIGHT!? That Damn Yankee is not a way to "SERVE YOUR COUNTRY"!
SHOO FLY SHOO!
REGARDS,
A RICHMOND COUNTY NEIGHBOR.

DoubleD
0
Points
DoubleD 03/04/08 - 05:15 pm
0
0
So you are obviously one of

So you are obviously one of those who rode on daddy's coat tails. I don't give a flying flip what your daddy did. What do you do? By the way, your Daddy came from an era when education wasn't an unwritten requirement. I'm not going to insult a fellow serviceman. I would shoo, but I I'm in the greater Augusta. Believe me, most of the Army hates coming to Augusta, I have peers who volunteer to go to Iraq to get away from your oh so wonderful town.

DoubleD
0
Points
DoubleD 03/04/08 - 05:19 pm
0
0
Bring it melmel, what have

Bring it melmel, what have you done? I really need to know, afterall your dad is a CSM who served 30 years! Does it matter why I serve? What have you done; did you join for money, college, or did you ever do a thing but try to live off of your father's sucess? I will tell you this, I've been in long enough to be a Senior member also. Far from 17 or 18. So your college money idea is out the window. I've passed on 6 figure jobs becuase I'm good at what I do here. Those jobs will still be there for me. How about you? Still in Augusta, probably where you father retired. Never made it far from home did ya? Do you still live with him?

melmel
0
Points
melmel 03/04/08 - 05:21 pm
0
0
No Double D, I did'nt ride on

No Double D, I did'nt ride on daddy's coat tail! Nor did my other 4 siblings! My dad EARNED all of his ranks! And he was a very SMART MAN! I do well for myself as a SINGLE mother of a son in College I pay for without anyones help! I gree up in Richmond County and have sonce moved back since my dad's passing. I do agree that we have ALLOT of work to do here. And we don't need people like you to continue to bring us down. So if you are such a wonderful serviceman, why don't you offer to volenteer your time? Maybe you could be the 1 to make a difference here.

TakeAstand
13
Points
TakeAstand 03/04/08 - 05:27 pm
0
0
GJ melmel, you showed him his

GJ melmel, you showed him his redneck ghetto mentality opinion holds no water. Stoop further than the one you feel insulted you and insult thousands more than he did in the process...... that'll teach him!!!!! And I hate to say it because his post was very harsh, but to some extent he has a point!! Thanks for the movie referral Double D, I'm gonna watch it, looks pretty good!! lol The reviews say its good, but was not very well marketed, I had never heard of it. Thanks!!

disappointed taxpayer
0
Points
disappointed taxpayer 03/04/08 - 05:28 pm
0
0
What in the world are you

What in the world are you talking about TakeAstand? The Jailer's I have come into contact with,as any citizen would have, had the worse attitude of any people in the public I have ever seen. If you don't beleve it, Including You, Sheriff Ronnie,contact me, here, If you Dare

Back to Top

Search Augusta jobs