Friday marks one year since the death of Bibb County Investigator TJ Freeman. You may remember Freeman was killed in the line of duty in a car accident during a chase. One deputy told Yvonne Thomas that Freeman's passing really hits home. Now he's even more cautious on patrol, especially during police chases.
“I was hurt, but you never expect it to happen at your agency,” said Deputy Malcolm Bryant. Almost one year ago, Deputy Malcolm Bryant says the Bibb County Sheriff's Office lost a good friend and colleague, Investigator TJ Freeman. “I was really at a loss for words. It really hit home that it can happen to anybody at anytime,” said Bryant.
Since Freeman's tragic car crash, Deputy Bryant remembers Freeman's life and is more careful when he's on patrol, especially during chases, which Bryant says can be unpredictable. “When we're pursuing a vehicle, we can't dictate what they do. We can't tell if they're going to turn left or if they're going to turn right,” said Deputy Bryant.
When deputies are chasing a suspect they turn on their blue lights and sirens, but even with those safety measures, Bryant says there's lots of things that can make a chase even more difficult. “Different types of things are going through your head,” said Bryant. “Like what time of day it is what the weather is like.”
But they aren't just thinking about how to stop the car that's fleeing. They’re thinking about all the cars on the road. “We have to ask the dispatchers to hold all traffic,” said Bryant.
That keeps both drivers and deputies safe.
If you see a chase happening, Bryant says slow down, pull over, and be aware of your surroundings.
Martavius Kinder, the man accused of causing the wreck that killed T.J. Freeman, faces several charges, including three counts of vehicular homicide.
His trial is scheduled for August.