Documents show trooper had history of wrecks prior to fatal crash

by: Tony Thomas Updated:

Kathy Porter

ATLANTA - Records show that the trooper involved in a crash that killed the wife of the Atlanta Braves' head trainer had been involved in four previous wrecks.

On Friday, the Georgia State Patrol announced that Trooper Don Crozier had been fired because of the crash that killed Kathy Porter.

Channel 2's Tony Thomas obtained the investigative reports from the crash and the file on Crozier.

The 325 pages of reports detailed the trooper's history of accidents, including one that sounds similar to last weekend's.

Audio recordings from police dispatch on New Year's Eve showed Crozier was on the way to a call when the incident happened.

"I'm trying to catch up to a motorcycle," one can hear Crozier say.

Then, shortly after, he's heard saying, "Atlanta… I've been in a 10-50. Memorial and Capitol Avenue."

Crozier was trying to catch up with that chase when witnesses said he flew through the intersection of Memorial and Capitol, running a red  light, and crashed into a vehicle being driven by Braves head trainer Jeff Porter.

Porter's wife, Kathy, was killed in the wreck.


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"I thought he was NASCAR the way he was riding," one witness said about the wreck.

Thomas pored over the records on Crozier and quickly discovered a pattern of wrecks his commanders found him at fault for. Thomas counted four in the past four years.

The last incident happened at the intersection of the Holmes and Burton. As Crozier began a chase, he ran a red light, hitting a car.

"Just because there is blue lights on and a siren, there is no force field around that patrol car," former Atlanta police Officer Tony Corroto said.

The records contained an internal memo that Crozier's commanding officer wrote saying, "Our job requires us to sometimes drive aggressively in order to perform our job duties. This does not relieve us from driving defensively and with due  regard. …Fortunately, no one was injured. It is this type of behavior that must be corrected."

The letter of concern came just seven months before the wreck that killed Porter.

Many of the things Channel 2 asked for in the open records request were denied, such as dash cam video and other reports.

Officials said they were denied because the investigation into the wreck is ongoing.

Crozier had been with the GSP for 10 years.

Saturday afternoon, Cozier's attorney issued a news release.

“I have known Donald for almost a decade, and he has always exhibited the finest qualities of a trooper with the Georgia State Patrol.  He spent his life protecting the public on our roadways, and he is having a very difficult time knowing that the accident he was in resulted in the loss of life.” said Michael Hawkins, an Atlanta attorney who is assisting Crozier through this difficult time.

Cozier also offered a statement for the release.

“I will continue to fully cooperate with investigators.” Crozier said. “I am still suffering emotionally and physically as a result of the accident, but it is nothing compared to what the Porter family is going through.  I am so sorry for their loss and I think of them and pray for them every day.”