APD responds to allegations they didn't do their jobs - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

APD responds to allegations they didn't do their jobs

May 17, 2006

Albany-- Albany Police respond to allegations that they didn't do their jobs when handling a hit and run case.

The mother of 33-year-old Dwayne Cutley told WALB this week that Albany Police were slow to respond to the accident scene, didn't notify her and left important evidence at the scene but police say that's not true.

Wreckers hauled a green Ford F-150 from a parking lot at Oxford Construction Tuesday evening. It's owner? 38-year-old Gregory Charles, an employee of the company. Albany Police took him in by car for questioning.

"He was formally placed under arrest here at the Albany Law Enforcement center," says Corporal William Dowdell of the Albany Police Department. Police say a combination of things led them to the arrest. One is a call from the Lee County Sheriff's Office from a lookout that was placed. Charles reported hitting a deer. That tipped off authorities.

"We already had a description of what may have been the suspect's vehicle as far as it being a dark colored Ford-type vehicle," says Dowdell. And they found it with visible front-end damage.

The parts missing were found at the scene of the crime but some ended up in the victim's mother's hands. She had a bag full on Monday and she also still has questions about how the investigation was handled.

"It took them so long. It took them at least 45 minutes to an hour, and the ambulance had come and gone with my son," says Street. She also says neither she nor anyone else in the family was notified properly.

"The family was directly contacted by myself the night of the incident. However, due to the condition of the mother and how upset she was about it, I could not actually speak to her in person, but I did make contact with the father and a sister," says Dowdell.

"They didn't notify the father. I notified the father," says Street, "They didn't call neither one of us."

Street also questions what vehicle parts led police to the suspect, whether it was pieces of the headlight she found or parts found by authorities. "The family found portions of it. We in turn found other portions of it, and the pieces together formed the headlight," says Dowdell.

She also wonders why evidence was even left at the scene for the family to gather in the first place. "It's under dispute whether it was left at the scene because I, myself and a lieutenant, we actually walked the scene and at that time we did not find any leftover parts at the scene itself and the family members had already been there," says Dowdell.

But family and police do agree on one thing. They're happy a suspect is off the streets.

"I'm so happy to know that they found him, and it didn't take them that long," says Street. Something that this mother helped with. She says she has a little closure now but also concern over what pieces led to her closure.

Reports show that EMS and police were dispatched at 11:47 Saturday night. EMS arrived first and Albany Police got there about nine minutes later.

Charles remained in the Dougherty County Jail as of Wednesday night. He's charged with leaving the scene of an accident and homicide by vehicle in the 1st degree, a felony that can lead to up to 20 years in jail.

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