From District Attorney Greg Edwards-
Dougherty County has many recent instances of defendants attempting to flee from prosecution by driving motor vehicles at excessively high speeds and driving in a manner which placed the citizens of Dougherty County, i.e. innocent drivers, pedestrians, and police officers, at a severe risk of injury or death.
These persons present similar dangers by carrying guns while they transport or sell illegal drugs.
For example, in a case which was indicted on June 12, 2013, a nine (9) time convicted felon attempted to flee from members of the Albany Dougherty Drug Unit. On a Tuesday morning, at approximately 9:00 am, on April 23, 2013, the defendant drove down Pine Street at speeds greater than 70 mph. He ran red lights on Pine Ave at Jefferson, Monroe, and Madison and ran stop signs at North, Davis St and W. 1'1 W. 2"d, W. 3rd, Flint, W. Roosevelt, Tift, and W. Society.
In another example, also indicted by the Grand Jury, on January 2, 2013, at 4:09 pm, on a Wednesday, the defendant chose to drive at speeds of 80-106 mph on E. Oakridge Ave, at 107 mph in the 30 mph residential zone on S. Jackson St, in excess of SS mph in the 30 mph zone on Whitney Ave, at 81 mph in the 3S mph zone at S. Jefferson, at 110 mph in the 900 block of S. Jefferson, and 6S mph in the 30 mph zone into MLK Jr Dr. The entire time the defendant ran stop signs, red lights, and weaved through traffic.
Another incident which occurred on Tuesday, May 2S, 2012 at 10:S2 am, a school and work day, involved a defendant who ran stop signs at W. Residence and N. Jefferson Street while weaving through traffic at speeds approaching 30 miles over the speed limit. The driver ran red lights on W. 3rd Ave. at N. Jackson and N. Washington St. He eventually drove through a residential yard onto N. Washington where he struck a clothesline and a tree.
To show that Albany has a history of aggressive attempts to flee prosecution, a couple of chases from 2011 are important to note. On a Friday, October 28, 2011, at 3:45 in the afternoon, a defendant chose to run from police on Oglethorpe Ave through the intersections at Cason St., Sands Dr, and at Blaylock St and Clark Ave. The flight continued until Turner Field Road where the Defendant finally crashed his vehicle. In this attempt to run from the police, a police officer lost her life.
On a Friday, December 30, of 2011, at 10:55 am, a Defendant ran a 3 way stop sign at Dorsett Ave and S. Davis St. and Newton Rd., narrowly missing hitting several vehicles. He continued to drive erratically on Newton Rd and ran a red light at S. Madison St while driving between 90 and 100 mph in the 35 mph zone. He fled down S. Monroe St, then W. Mercer Ave before jumping from the car while it continued to roll forward.
Lastly, to discuss yet another recent incident, which occurred on a Sunday evening, June 2, 2013 at 6:03 pm, the defendant ran the stop sign on N. Madison St, the 4 way stop sign at 8th Ave, a stop sign onto 7th Ave, and a stop sign at Palmyra Rd. The defendant, with the car damaged and tires deflating, jumped out of the car after turning it into a yard, and left the car running and in gear towards a residence.
The Office of the Dougherty Co. District Attorney Greg Edwards and the A.D.D.U. believe that these continued actions of defendants are putting the safety of every single person in Dougherty County in significant risk of receiving serious injuries or deaths. It would be unconscionable to continue down the same path of prosecuting these criminals as has been done in the past as these Defendants are continuing to put at risk mothers, fathers, children, grandparents, and all the other people that live here. A child crossing the street is in danger in front of their own home because of actions by criminals like those mentioned above. A mother walking her children to school or to a park is in danger from these criminals. These criminals are continuing to endanger every person here, all in an effort to selfishly escape prosecution.
That changes now. Drug dealers and those who endanger the public safety are hereby warned.
The Office of Dougherty District Attorney Greg Edwards and the A.D.D.U. are proud to announce Operation Run or Gun. All cases where there is a felony fleeing to elude or where the defendant has a gun with their illegal drugs will be vigorously prosecuted. The defendants will be arrested and charged for every single felony offense that they commit. Motor vehicles that are used to flee prosecution and which place the general public in jeopardy may be seized for forfeiture. The Office of District Attorney Greg Edwards will ask that the Judges deny bond for people that have guns and illegal drugs, or for people that put the general public at significant risk of injury or death with these high speed attempts to flee.
Where there are illegal drugs seized, the GBI Division of Forensic Sciences will be called upon to expedite the testing of the drugs. The defendants will find their case before the Grand Jury as quickly as possible. Upon indictment, these cases will be placed for trial on the following month's trial calendar and the defendant will be arraigned as quickly as possible. The defendant will be brought to trial without any plea bargaining to reduced crimes or prison sentences.
The Office of District Attorney Greg Edwards will seek significant prison time for all criminals who have a gun with their illegal drugs, or who put the public at risk by running from the police. The sentences for "Run" or "Gun" cases will be consecutive sentences to maximize prison service and probation time. Upon release from serving time in the Georgia state prison system, the defendants will face a significant amount of probation.
In conclusion, it is the hopes and prayers of the Office of District Attorney Greg Edwards and the ADDU that no innocent person will be injured or killed by the actions of Defendants and that potential offenders will think twice before engaging in any perilous conduct. If this warning fails, Operation Run or Gun is designed to remove those criminals who jeopardize the safety of the general public from our streets and to keep them in jail and prison, thereby making the streets safer for all.
Some videos of these chases are available by contacting Major Bill Berry of the A.D.D.U.