Atlanta Senior Police Officer Gail Thomas had just arrived at the scene of an accident on I-75 when tragedy struck.
While attempting to divert traffic away from the wreck, Thomas was hit and killed by an alleged drunk driver, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. On Friday, 22-year-old Chasity Nicole Jones pleaded guilty to one count of vehicular manslaughter and one count of failure to obey the directions of an officer for the death of Jones.
The accident occurred on January 24 of last year at the Brookwood Interchange ramp from I-75 southbound to I-85 northbound. According to authorities, a 1998 Honda Civic driven by Jones struck Thomas, killing the officer on impact.
“We’ve taken it very hard,” Thomas’ brother, Earl Thomas, said in court. “The crime will never fit the punishment due to the fact that my sister is no more.”
On top of the criminal charges, Thomas’ family may want to bring a wrongful death suit against Jones. A wrongful death suit is usually brought by the family of a person who died due to the negligence of another.
Since Jones pleaded guilty to vehicular manslaughter, Thomas’ family has a good case for negligence per se. Under that doctrine, an act is considered negligent because it violates a safety law. If the suit is successful, the family could win damages for any medical costs, funeral expenses, lost financial support, and the loss of consortium that resulted from the accident.
Of course, even if Thomas’ family is awarded damages, they could have a hard time collecting them. If Jones is sentenced to prison time, she’ll be unable to work and, therefore, unable to pay off any potential damages.
- Call an Atlanta Personal Injury Lawyer (FindLaw)
- Woman Indicted in Death of Atlanta Police Officer Expected to Plead Guilty (CBS Atlanta)
- Wrongful Death FAQ (FindLaw)
- 4 Children Killed in Conyers House Fire (FindLaw’s Atlanta Injury Law Blog)