Family of Turner Co. wreck victim says mistrust of police led up to his death

Ashburn police say chases ending in tragedy aren’t common
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Published: May. 12, 2022 at 8:22 PM EDT
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ASHBURN, Ga. (WALB) - Thursday, we learned more details about what led up to a fatal crash on the Irwin-Turner County line. According to police, on Wednesday morning around 2:30 a.m., what started off as a normal traffic stop ended in a high-speed chase.

The car reached speeds of more than 85 miles per hour on Bussey Road. At this time, WALB is still looking to confirm the details of the victims involved with police.

The woman who claims to be the mother of a 23-year-old man who died in the crash is now speaking out.

The family didn’t want to be identified but they say they were devastated by the news. The victim’s family says what happened was unfortunate, and that it all began from mistrust in law enforcement. The woman who says she’s the mother of the driver who died says her focus over the next few days is burying her son.

Interim Police Chief for the Ashburn Department Richard Purvis says that it is National Law Enforcement Week, and there’s no better time for people to voice their concerns.

“We want to be open and transparent. Come to me if you have any questions,” Major Purvis said.

Police say that they were familiar with the car, but were aware that multiple people had driven that vehicle. WALB received tips that the car was recently sold to the driver who fled from the police. Police say the vehicle was of interest because it had no plates, tags, or registration.

On Thursday, WALB got the first look at a police car involved in the multi-vehicle wreck. Pictures of the Ashburn Police vehicle show extensive damage to the front of the car.

The other cars can be shown once until the investigation by the Georgia State Patrol is complete. Once the full investigation is complete, their department will also do a review to determine what could have been done before a young man lost his life. Major Purvis says that they don’t do a technique when chasing vehicles called the PIT (precision immobilization technique). He says what they did is the safest way to catch cars that are fleeing from police.

Interim Police Chief of Ashburn Police Richard Purvis says he wants to be transparent through...
Interim Police Chief of Ashburn Police Richard Purvis says he wants to be transparent through the investigation(WALB)

“Because you were sending the vehicle into an uncontrolled spin to immobilize them. That is something we do not do,” Purvis said.

He notes that chases ending in wrecks are a tragedy, but they aren’t common for Ashburn Police.

“Some of the chases do you come into a wreck, but 80% to 85% do not. We usually box them to get them stopped or boxed in,” he said.

Matt Wynn says his family lives down the road from the wreck. He says that chases happen here at a rate where he’s concerned about the next one.

“My parents live right up the road here. When somebody’s coming out here real fast, I’m always worried about someone running into them,” said Wynn.

Major Purvis says the chases he’s familiar with are the ones that occur on I-75. He says those usually don’t lead into Ashburn.

“We do chase on the interstate, it is not as common inside the city,” Purvis said.

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