The accident happened on Sunday night in Union City. A South Fulton police officer crashed while chasing a stolen Mercedes Benz, killing three people and injuring three others. The wreck occurred at about 10 p.m. near the intersection of Ga. 138 and Interstate 85.
Preliminary information from the Georgia State Patrol indicates that the officer was chasing the Mercedes, which had several occupants. A white work van with six occupants was making a left turn onto 138 west from I-85 north. While executing the turn, the van entered the path of the police officer’s vehicle and the officer was unable to stop.
The police officer struck the left side of the van, causing the vehicle to overturn and catch fire. The police cruiser also caught on fire. Three people inside the van were killed and three others were able to escape. The officer was also able to escape the burning police cruiser.
It isn’t clear yet what initiated the pursuit nor the speeds that were involved. The officer has been released from Grady Hospital, but the officer’s name has not been released.
The Mercedes was able to flee.
Police chases seem to be happening more often, despite the fact that officers often do not chase minor traffic violations. Each police department has its own procedures in place as to when an officer can engage in a pursuit. For the most part, police officers must make the decision as to whether a fleeing suspect poses a greater danger to the public than a high-speed chase may cause. Despite these precautions, questions are always raised when innocent bystanders become unintended victims of high-speed chases.