Drug chase officer involved in Klewitz chase - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Drug chase officer involved in Klewitz chase

Posted: Updated:

November 21, 2007

Dougherty County --  An Albany Dougherty Drug Unit agent started a chase Tuesday night that got up to speeds of 100 miles per hour and ended more than 50 miles away.   He's the same officer who initiated a chase earlier this year that ended with a fatal crash.  

In June, Officer Gary Price chased a drug suspect who crashed his car on Old Leesburg Road, killing 21-year-old Billy Klewitz.

During last night's chase, two cars were hit. A pregnant woman and two children were in one of them. They're okay, but the chase didn't end until police in Edison used stop sticks and the suspect crashed.   ADDU and witnesses tell different stories about what happened.  

It started at Fred's on Slappey when a drug operation went bad, but it was just before eight when the owner of A & J Food Mart saw blue lights coming his way. 

 Patel "By that third pole I saw the blue lights blinking, and I thought it was police, and then I saw a white Lexus, I guess over 100 miles per hour, speed across highway 91," said A&J Food Mart Owner Hemang Patel.

A representative for ADDU maintains officers weren't chasing the suspect 22-year-old Latarius Williams at that point. 

"Given our information, we were not chasing him, they were maintain surveillance on him, why, because he was driving without headlights on, because he was driving on the other side of the road," says Assistant D.A. for ADDU, Brumby Montgerard.

But witnesses say Corporal Gary Price and several undercover cars were going just as fast.  "Yeah, police were right behind him," said Patel.

That's when he struck the car with a pregnant woman and two children inside. Williams kept right on going, down Oakhaven to the dead end and back where he narrowly missed Price's vehicle parked across Oakhaven. 

"At this time the suspect approached officer Price but he refused to stop. In fact at the last minute officer Price had to move his car out of the way," said Brumby.

This is where police say Price asked Captain Davis for permission to chase Williams. Permission was granted and for nearly 50 miles ADDU, joined by other departments chased Williams along Highway 62 to Leary, 37 west to Morgan, 45 south to Arlington and 216 North to Edison, where Chief Ronald Evans put out stop sticks at the end of College Street.

"He maintained control for about another 300 yards or so," said Chief Evans. "He hit the intersection at College Street and Hartford Street or Highway 37 still traveling at a high rate of speed."

Williams crashed into a city flower bed and was arrested, but residents we talked to question how safe chases like this are. In this case officers say they only had Williams' alias and feared he may be driving a stolen car, that's why they continued to pursue him.

Similar to the chase and double fatality in Lee County, initially ADDU claimed their vehicles were not going as fast as the suspect. WALB News Ten later obtained information from the Specialized Collision Reconstruction Team's investigation which showed ADDU's vehicles were going just as fast as the suspect's vehicle.

  • Here are WALB stories on the Billy Klewitz case--

Innocent driver killed while police chased drug suspect
June 28, 2007

Klewitz tribute in Lee County
June 30, 2007

Police chase wreck victim buried
July 2, 2007

Fatal police chase details released
June 28, 2007

GSP issues report on fatal police chase
August 23, 2007

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