Harlem Dept. of Public Safety seizing cars from habitual DUI violators

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News 12 at 6 o'clock/ March 14, 2014


HARLEM, Ga.--In Georgia, if you are stopped for a DUI and you've been placed in the 'habitual violator category, officers can seize your vehicle. In Harlem, they're doing just that, in hopes of sending a clear message.

The Harlem Department of Public Safety is in the process of seizing their first car from a DUI case. The suspect is accused of leading them on a chase through the county before being arrested for his 4th DUI.

Dash cam video shows a Harlem Public Safety Officer trying to pull over a vehicle, when it starts crossing over the center line. But, the car won't stop. Chief Gary Jones says, "The chase lasted about 12-14 minutes."

The chase continues with the driver swerving across the road, reaching high speeds before he finally runs out of gas. The suspect was taken into custody and charged with his 4th DUI. Harlem is in the process of filing paperwork with the D.A. to seize the vehicle.

"We hope it sends a clear message that it's not going to be tolerated, and it will deter them from driving, because a habitual DUI violator on the road with a 4th DUI, in my opinion, is like a murder weapon going up the road," Chief Jones said.

And, it's a win for everyone except the suspect, unless the car isn't paid for.

"What you have to be concerned about is what is owed, or what the lien on the vehicle you seize," Chief Jones said.

In that case, it depends on how much is owed, and if the difference in profit is worth it. The proceeds from whatever is earned will go to alcohol training, in hopes of preventing others from getting behind the wheel drunk

"We actually put on an alcohol awareness class for teenagers last summer. So we might be able to incorporate something like that again," he said.