Police officers generally have very strict guidelines on when they can engage and continue with pursuits. One of these guidelines is that a chase should not be conducted if the danger to bystanders becomes great due to speeds or reckless driving. In some cases, supervisor permission also needs to be obtained before a pursuit can be engaged or continued. In the case that there are children in the vehicle being pursued, officers must nearly always err on the side of caution and discontinue the pursuit. There are times when the officer may be unaware that there are children in the vehicle, as 11 Alive reports.
At about 7:45 pm on Saturday, a Douglas County sheriff’s deputy observed a man speeding down Thornton road. The suspect was traveling 69 mph in a 45 mph hour zone.
The suspect’s car, an Infiniti M35, initially pulled over into the lot of a QuikTrip at the corner of Thornton and Maxham Road. As the deputy emerged from his car, the suspect sped off heading southbound down Thornton Road.
The deputy initially believed that the suspect was the only person in the vehicle and the chase continued for about three miles.
This is when the suspect ran a red light and plowed into a tractor-trailer, bursting into flames and sliding beneath the trailer.
The driver, Billy Frazier, 30, of Atlanta and Quemontae Frazier, 10, were both pronounced dead at the scene. This is when the deputy first realized that there were three other children who were unrestrained in the back seat. Their ages were between 3 and 6 years of age. They were taken to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta with critical injuries.
Frazier was driving on a suspended license and was on probation at the time of the accident. Inside the car, authorities found quantities of MDMA, cocaine, crack cocaine, methamphetamine, prescription drugs, and marijuana. Police also found a handgun that had been reported stolen inside the vehicle.
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