The Georgia State Patrol has determined a Forsyth County deputy caused a wreck that sent him, a mother and an 8-year-old girl to the hospital.
According to an incident report obtained by Channel 2’s Mike Petchenik, Deputy Kevin Pittman was responding to a report about a suicidal person June 7 when Alysia Capriola plowed into his Dodge Charger at the intersection of State Routes 9 and 369 near Cumming.
“I was definitely shocked,” Capriola told Petchenik. “Never been in that situation before.”
Capriola told Petchenik she was driving west through a green light on SR 369, when Pittman’s cruiser suddenly stopped in the middle of the intersection.
“I had no chance to stop, no chance to swerve. I had nowhere to go and no warning,” she said.
Capriola sent pictures of her SUV to Petchenik that showed extensive damage.
“It’s actually totaled,” she said. “The whole front end was crushed in.”
State troopers who investigated the crash concluded that an “external distraction outside the vehicle” caused Pittman to “fail to yield the right of way.” The report said Pittman saw the car he was looking for in the intersection and was attempting to pull her over at the time.
“There’s nothing I could have done to prevent what happened,” said Capriola, who, along with her 8-year-old daughter, ended up hospitalized after the wreck.
Capriola and her husband, Sal, told Petchenik that the deputy and his colleagues should be retrained on how to respond to emergencies.
“That’s a high-adrenaline job,” said Sal Capriola. “You have to be able to handle yourself and keep yourself composed without hurting others.”
A representative for the Forsyth County Sheriff said Deputy Pittman was on “light duty” because of injuries he suffered in the accident. Capt. Tim House said the county’s accident review board had not yet taken up the incident but would review all of the facts and determine if disciplinary action was warranted.
House told Petchenik that eyewitnesses have given sheriff’s investigators a different story than what the GSP had concluded but added, “We have found our deputies at fault before.”
Petchenik tracked down one witness who said he felt Pittman acted properly.
“They were on an emergency call, had their emergency signals going,” said Bill Whitmire, who was just feet from the accident when it happened. “We thought we would have reacted enough to slow down or stop when we saw that.”