Deputy resigns after high speed chase - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Deputy resigns after high speed chase

Terrel County Sheriff's Office cruiser Terrel County Sheriff's Office cruiser
High Speed crash site on April 5, 2013 High Speed crash site on April 5, 2013
Sheriff John Bowens, Terrell County Sheriff's Office Sheriff John Bowens, Terrell County Sheriff's Office
Eddie Streeter being taken to Phoebe Putney Hospital after crash Eddie Streeter being taken to Phoebe Putney Hospital after crash
Dash Camera in Terrel County Sheriff's Office cruiser Dash Camera in Terrel County Sheriff's Office cruiser
DAWSON, GA (WALB) -

A Terrell County Sheriff's Deputy resigned after an internal investigation into a high speed chase that ended with a crash in Albany.

Sheriff John Bowens says one of his deputies chased a motorcyclist in early April when he shouldn't have, and also failed to turn on his dash cam. With no video, the sheriff was left with some unanswered questions.

A dash camera in any of Terrell County's Sheriff Office's cruisers could have saved one deputy's job. Terrell County Sheriff's Deputy David Smith claims his camera wasn't working when he got into a high speed chase on April 5th.

The chase ended in a crash on the corner of Dawson Road and Whispering Pines Avenue. But missing dash cam footage left the sheriff trying to fill in the blanks.

"For some reason it wasn't on. I don't know why. I asked him and he claimed it had malfunctioned, and we had the camera checked afterward and the technician couldn't find anything wrong with it," said Sheriff John Bowen, Terrell County Sheriff's Office.

The sheriff said the dash cam automatically begins recording when officers turn on their traffic lights. He said Smith's camera had worked for all his other traffic stops, but was turned off for the motorcycle chase.

"You know, when you're chasing vehicles, motorcycles or what have you, and then somebody goes and gets hurt, you don't know what's going to happen afterwards, and I've always like to be ready for the unexpected," Bowens said.

The dash cams that automatically go on once traffic lights have been switched protect not only the suspects that are being chased, but also the officers.

"Well if you don't have your dash cam in your car on, you don't know what happened. But if that camera's in there and that camera's on, then it would catch a lot of stuff people make up," said Bowens.

The sheriff said Smith put the public's safety at risk and shouldn't have gotten into the chase in the first place. It's the department's policy not to chase motorcycles unless the rider is wanted for a felony.

Reports show the chase started in Terrell County and reached speeds of over 80 miles-per-hour. Smith said Streeter was speeding over 140 miles-per-hour before the crash.

Streeter was taken into custody by the Georgia State Patrol, but was later released. He faced charges in Terrell County for attempting to elude law enforcement, reckless driving, speeding and driving with a suspended license At the time of his arrest, it was also discovered he had an outstanding warrant in Lake City, Florida.

The sheriff said Deputy Smith resigned about a week after the chase.

Copyright 2013 WALB.  All rights reserved.  

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