Family reacts to deadly high speed chase

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News 12 at 6 o'clock, March 3, 2008

AUGUSTA, Ga -- A high speed chase saturday night ends with the death of a 43-year old woman.

Laura Latimer was killed after investigators say 19-year old Jamie Ray Clark's chevy blazer crashed into the car where Latimer was a passenger. It was the end of a deputy chase that started on Broad Street and now investigators are looking into the actions of Richmond County Deputy Anthony Gregory.

Laura Latimer's family says she was a mother of three who was out on a date saturday night with her boyfriend when she was hit and killed by Clark's fleeing chevy blazer.

"If I could've get my hands on any of them i would've just shook them and say do you realize? Do you have any idea what you've done?" Rosa Lovett was Laura Latimer's sister and best friend. "No matter what I do, no matter what i say, no matter how angry I am it's still not going to change the fact that my sister is dead. She is gone and it is killing me, it's killing me.." Lovett says while breaking down in tears.

Latimer was riding with her boyfriend to his sister's house when deputies say their car was hit by Jamie Lynn Clark's speeding blazer at about 85 miles an hour. "Her three children they are devastated. Yes I'm angry with him and there is nothing he can say or do to make it any better. Nothing because it was senseless."

But Rosa says the family's anger doesn't just lie with Clark, they also question the deputy that chased him. "There is no reason to be driving that high rate of speed on a saturday night and they are responsible for killing my sister and they are all going to pay through the legal way."

Richmond County Sheriff Ronnie Strength calls the chase a terrible tragedy but not illegal. "High speed chases are a necessary evil."

The radio transmission shows the deputy was called off the pursuit four minutes before Laura was killed.

Strength, "Both officers have been interviewed and say they did not hear when their supervisor told them to break the chase off and that's understandable."

Sheriff Strength says deputy Gregory's reason, his patrol car siren.

"That's a poor excuse in that kind of work, you should've called back, repeat that." says Rosa.

While the family struggles with Laura's death, Rosa says both clark and the deputy's actions will haunt them forever. "By the grace of God he's going to think about this every minute of his life when he wake up when he go to bed at night, he's going to see her in his sleep...and that officer, he need to be reprimanded because he is just as much responsible.. I fault them both equally."

Latimer's boyfriend is expected to be released from the hospital tomorrow. The family says he has no memory of the accident.

As of right, Deputy Anthony Gregory is not facing any disiplinary action.

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