LIBERTY COUNTY, Ga. (WSAV) – The Liberty County Sheriff’s Office is releasing the dash camera video of the moments leading up to a deadly car crash on Leroy Coffer Highway.
It happened Saturday afternoon when a Liberty County deputy tried to stop a white Nissan that was reported stolen. The dashcam video shows the driver, 19-year-old Johnathan Kennedy, beginning to pull over after the deputy flashes his lights. However, he appears to change his mind and speed off.
A deputy pursued the driver, Liberty County Sheriff Steve Sikes notes, without dangerously increasing his speed. In about 22 seconds, the Nissan crossed the median, sped into oncoming traffic and hit a black Audi head-on.
The Liberty County coroner says 43-year-old Sergeant First Class Jimmy Altamirano was a passenger in that Audi. Troopers say he was stationed at Fort Stewart.
He died at the scene.
Sikes said in a press conference Monday, “to know you got guys out there willing to put their lives on the line for this nation and be killed so recklessly it’s heart-rending.” He continued, “I’m a veteran myself, so I know what kind of service these guys do for us and to see their lives snuffed out for something this ridiculous is heart-wrenching.”
All three people inside the Nissan also died at the scene. The coroner has identified the passengers as 40-year-old Alie Dossey and 32-year-old Thomas Gordon.
The driver of the black Audi was taken to Savannah Memorial Hospital. He is in stable condition.
Sikes told News 3 his deputy did the right thing by pursuing the stolen vehicle. He said his deputy called for backup, as is the protocol, and did not speed up or chase the car into the westbound lanes.
Sikes called the incident “unavoidable” and a “tragedy brought on by a reckless driver.”
“Where do you draw the line? Could it be somebody’s child in there that was kidnapped? Do you not chase them? Do you not chase a bank robber? Do you not chase a felony murderer? Do you not chase someone who’s stolen a vehicle. I mean, what do you do? Let them go?” Sikes questioned.
The sheriff said no one will face charges because the driver of that Nissan died in the crash.
Lewis Levine, Coastal News Service, contributed to this story