Of all people, law enforcement officers should know about the dangers of driving under the influence of alcohol. They see DUI injuries first-hand. Yet I still periodically see stories about police officers involved in DUI wrecks. On Sunday morning, Union City Police Officer Patrick Reed was arrested for DUI after his vehicle crossed the center line and crashed into another vehicle.
Officer Reed was driving southbound on Old National Highway early Sunday morning when his Chevrolet Avalanche crossed the center line and hit a Pontiac Grand Prix head-on. The police report stated that Reed had bloodshot eyes, was unsteady on his feet, and had an odor of alcohol.
The driver of the Grand Prix was also charged with DUI. Reed was charged in Fulton County with DUI and failure to maintain lane. Both drivers were injured in the wreck and taken to Grady Hospital. A passenger in the Grand Prix was also injured in the DUI accident and is reportedly still in the hospital in critical condition.
“Right now [Reed] is on administrative leave with pay, pending an internal investigation and also the investigation from the Fulton County Police Department,” Detective Jacqueline Lewis of the Union City Police Department told WSB-TV. “He has an excellent record. No disciplinary actions taken against him. This was a total shock.”
Reed was off-duty and in his personal vehicle at the time of the accident. Neither Reed nor the other driver were taken into custody after the accident since they were admitted to the hospital with injuries. Both drivers were ticketed and will appear in court to face charges of DUI.
“The officer in question did come to the police station this morning and did turn in his badge and his duty belt,” said Detective Lewis.
Officer Reed consented to a blood alcohol content (BAC) test at Grady Hospital, and Fulton County police are awaiting the results of that.
Most police officers set a fine example for citizens. However, officers like Mr. Reed set a poor example for our children and all citizens. Our laws should be respected by all citizens, including those in uniform. If law enforcement officials do not respect the law, then how can they expect others to do so?
Driving under the influence of alcohol is a serious public health problem here in Atlanta, in the rest of Georgia, and in the nation as a whole. Drunk driving rates have been slowly decreasing in recent years, thanks in part to tougher DUI laws supported by groups such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).
In Georgia, the victim of a drunk driver accident may not only sue the drunk driver but may also sue the individual and/or establishment that knowingly served alcohol to an intoxicated person who would be driving.
If you’ve been injured by a drunk driver in Georgia, contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible. Call MLN Law at 404-531-9700 to schedule a free consultation and review your legal rights.