Innocent driver killed while police chased drug suspect

Published: Jun. 28, 2007 at 3:17 AM EDT|Updated: Jul. 2, 2007 at 1:50 PM EDT
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June 28, 2007

Lee County-  Twenty one year old Billy Klewitz was on his way to pick up his sister from work Wednesday night when the crash happened. His Ford Taurus was hit head-on by the suspect in that high speed chase. Billy, who many of you will recognize as a Winn Dixie employee, died at the scene.

It was a text message from his sister Breanna that led Billy Klewitz down Old Leesburg Road to pick her up from her job at Phoebe Putney hospital. When he didn't show, his family got concerned. Their fears were realized when the Lee County EMS Director arrived.

"When I saw Bobby Watkins pull in my driveway I knew Billy had been hurt, and when I saw Sheriff Breeden that's the other chaplain," said William Klewitz Sr., Billy's Father Klewitz's car was hit head on, his life cut short.

"Very short, very, very short," said Klewitz.

Billy's family didn't know the circumstances of his wreck until Thursday morning.

"It was this morning on WALB, Today in Georgia, that I found out how my son died, in that tragic accident last night. It was due to a high speed chase, foolishly. We've got to stop this. They have radios, they have communication devices. Set road blocks up and lose the cowboy mentality," said Klewitz.

Billy's MySpace page is a glimpse into how he lived. His hobbies, pro-wrestling and video games, and his passion rock music, 80's heavy metal to be specific. He was proud of writing and recording two songs and most often had a guitar in hand.

"My son was a hell of a guitar player, that's what he lived for, that's what he lived for, and he was going to make it big," said Klewitz. 

Billy called himself the sweetest guy you'd ever meet, friends already posting memorials agree. "If you knew Billy he wasn't your friend, he was your brother, he loved everybody, that man wouldn't even hurt a fly. We love him," said Josh Watzlowick, a close friend.

"When he turned 21 a month ago, I did the fatherly thing that's been tradition in our family. I had a shot of whiskey with him to toast in his 21st year. The only other drink I've had before that was when my son was born. I never thought I'd be burying a son," said Klewitz.

A purple bow on the family's mailbox now marks the memory of the son, brother, and best friend that so many lost.  Billy Klewitz recently graduated from Albany Tech's Marketing Management Program and while he was a student, he interned in the newsroom at WALB-TV.