The family of a Georgia woman and 3-year-old girl killed by a man as he attempted to flee DeKalb police have filed a lawsuit, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports.
57-year-old Alicia Moxley and Jordan Haynes were in a 2003 Pontiac Grand Am when the SUV struck them. Officials say it was a head-on collision.
Now, family members of the deceased have accused the department of committing a reckless pursuit.
Jeremiah Warthen pleaded guilty in 2014 to multiple counts of vehicular homicide for the Mar. 20, 2013 incident. The lawsuit now blames police for the deaths, along with injuries of four others in the vehicle.
According to the lawsuit, police followed Warthen because they thought he was driving too fast in a motel parking lot.
At the time, Warthen was driving a 2001 Chevrolet Yukon. Police officers ran the license plate and discovered that the owner was wanted on a charge of criminal damage to property.
But Warthen wasn’t the owner of the vehicle.
As police attempted to pull him over, Warthen struck a cruiser and almost hit an officer in the process, according to suit.
“I just panicked, man,” Warthen told Channel 2 Action News in 2013. “I wasn’t trying to hurt no one. … I’m sorry for their loss and I’ll be praying.”
Prosecutors say he reached the 70-mph mark in a 25-mph zone.
The lawsuit is seeking damages in an amount to be determined in court. It says the deaths wouldn’t have happened if officers would’ve abandoned the pursuit.
It also accuses officers of violating department policy and state law, which requires police to exercise caution when pursuing suspects.