GSP continues to investigate fatal crash that killed Kathy Porter

by: Tom Jones Updated:

Kathy Porter

ATLANTA,None - There may be a problem recovering video from the dashboard camera involved in the fatal crash that killed the wife of the Atlanta Braves head trainer.

A Georgia State Patrol spokesperson said a technician looked at the camera Tuesday to try to retrieve video and data that was unrecoverable Saturday night.

Some witnesses who were at the intersection of Capitol Ave and Memorial Drive told Channel 2 Action News that while they saw Trooper Donald Crozier's lights flashing, but they never heard a siren.

"He did have his lights on but the cars coming from this direction, their vision is to not look off, they're keeping straight," witness Sandy Johnson said.

Tuesday, a GSP spokesperson said its information from the scene Saturday night was that the lights and siren were on.

The spokesperson said the trooper was responding to assist another trooper who was pursuing a speeding motorcyclist who had failed to yield for a traffic stop on Interstate 20.

However, before he could get there, the trooper slammed into Kathy Porter's family vehicle, killing her.


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Channel 2's Carl Willis asked if the trooper broke any laws. While it's still under investigation, the GSP referred him to state code 40-6-6. The code states that, "The driver of an authorized emergency vehicle or law enforcement vehicle may: Proceed past a red or stop signal or stop sign, but only after slowing down as may be necessary for safe operation; and Exceed the maximum speed limits so long as he or she does not endanger life or property."

Still, some witnesses said the trooper just barreled through the intersection.

"He did not practice caution. He did not slow down," Johnson said

Tuesday, GSP said it was finalizing the crash report. Channel 2 Action News has filed an open records request for all information regarding the crash.


A call to end all chases


The attorney for the family of two people killed by a driver during a police chase supports a politician's call for an end to police chases statewide.

This comes after the wife of a Braves trainer was killed in a crash where a trooper was on the way to a chase.

Attorney Scott Commander said the trooper involved in the crash that killed Porter was on the way to a chase involving a nonviolent offender, as was the man that crashed into his clients in 2009.

The earlier police chase left Zannie Hatcher, 74, and her daughter Bonnie Vicks, 57, dead.
They were on the way home from church when they were killed.

"If the police don't chase him he doesn't run," Commander told Channel 2's Tom Jones.

The attorney said they would probably be alive today if Clayton County police hadn't initiated a chase for someone who wasn't a violent offender. All they had him pulled over for was impeding the flow of traffic.

Clayton County police say Christian Harris, 24, sped off when they tried to question him about blocking traffic in an area known for prostitution.

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They chased him to Fulton County where Harris drove on the wrong side of the road before he crashed into the victim's car on Old National Highway.

"I'd rather have roadblocks than chases," Clayton County Commission Chair Eldrin Bell said.

Bell, a former Atlanta police chief, wants police chases banned.

"Most of the people, and I've caught them in the thousands, were never caught in automobiles," Bell said.

He said chases often end up hurting and killing innocent people.

Porter died when a Georgia State trooper on the way to a chase crashed into her SUV on Memorial and Capitol Avenue. The trooper was headed to a chase where a motorcyclist wouldn't stop on I-20.

It's why Bell wants chases stopped.

"Our governor needs to step in on this one," Bell said.

He has asked the governor to assemble a panel of police, traffic experts and the public to look at banning police chases statewide, or studying how to make sure the public is safe when police use them. Commander says he agrees with Bell.

"They know it's dangerous. They do need to stop," Bell said.

Bell said Clayton County has since changed it chase policy to where the offense has to be high and of an aggravated nature. But he wants to go further and stop them completely.

Bell said he was penning a letter to the governor outlining his concerns.


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