VPD, LCSO respond to crash concerns

VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) - Some citizens were criticizing the Valdosta Police Department and Lowndes County Sheriff's Office Wednesday for going to fast while responding to calls.

A Valdosta police officer and sheriff's deputy slammed into each other at the intersection of Troup and Gordon St. Tuesday afternoon while responding to a call.

But, both agencies said Wednesday that the dash cam video from the cars shows that the officer and deputy were taking every precaution to make sure the citizens were safe as they sped towards the call.

The dash cam video from the Valdosta Police Department patrol car captured the moment of impact when the officer behind The wheel t-boned the sheriff's deputy's patrol car as both officers.

The cars ended up in the front yard of a home, taking out a tree, a mailbox, and nearly hitting several people. "One of those officers in the wrong. They could've killed one of them young babies," said Willie Thomas, who witnessed the crash.

But Lowndes County Sheriff's Office Lieutenant stryde Jones said the dash cam video from inside the sheriff's deputy's car shows that the deputy did everything right while responding to the call.

"As he approaches the first stop sign, he comes to a complete stop," said Lt. Jones, explaining the dash cam footage as it played out on his computer.

"Again, he comes to a complete stop, checks for traffic," Lt. Jones said, as the video shows the officer approaching a second stop sign as he responded to the call.

"He has the green light as he approaches the intersection. He's slowing down," Lt. Jones pointed out when the video showed the officer approaching the intersection.

The dash cam video from inside the VPD patrol car shows that the VPD officer also stopped at stop signs and was not driving overly fast. "They can go through traffic lights, they can exceed the speed limit, as long as they're usin' due regard or due caution," explained Valdosta Police Department Cpt. Bobbi McGraw.

Lt. Jones also emphasized the importance of using due regard in these situations. "We take that very seriously," Lt. Jones emphasized.

Cpt. McGraw would not comment Wednesday as to whether the police officer did, in fact, use due regard, saying that that determination would have to be made by GSP, who was investigating the crash.

The officer and deputy involved in the crash received minor injuries and were recovering Wednesday.

The person police said started all of the commotion, 27 year old Demetrius Nelson, remained in the Lowndes County Jail Wednesday facing two counts of felony obstruction but other charges were pending as of Wednesday afternoon.

Police said Nelson resisted when two VPD officers attempted to arrest him on Lausanne Dr. around 3:30 p.m. Tuesday in order to talk to him about a stereo system that was found to have been removed from a vehicle that had been reported stolen earlier.

Cpt. McGraw said Nelson shoved one of the officers to the ground causing the officer head injuries and the second officer was cut when trying to assist in detaining Nelson.

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