Attapulgus victim sues State Patrol for mom’s death

Published 10:24 pm Friday, January 17, 2014

An Attapulgus resident is filing a $1 million legal suit against the Georgia State Patrol for the death of her mother Latricka Sloan, who was killed when her car wrecked during a law enforcement pursuit in January 2011.
Sloan’s daughter, Breshonda James, was a minor at the time of her death, but as of December is of the legal age to file suit on behalf of her mother in a wrongful death claim. James is suing on behalf of herself and her minor siblings, asking for a jury trial and damages to her and her siblings in the amount of $1 million and other costs and interest.
“We believe that the State of Georgia acting through the Georgia Department of Public Safety and the Georgia State Patrol are responsible for the death of Latricka Sloan due to the failure of Trooper Walt Landrum to exercise reasonable care in implementing the Georgia State Patrol policy concerning pursuits, and in particular ,the policy concerning execution of the Precision Immobilization Maneuver,” said James’ attorney Paul Fryer.
In January of 2011 The Post-Searchlight reported that Latricka Sloan, 32 of Attapulgus, died while driving her Chevrolet Impala off of East Griffin Street into a ditch after a high-speed chase resulted in Georgia State Patrol Trooper Walt Landrum executing a PIT maneuver.
The chase came after Sloan reportedly stopped and made a U-turn before reaching a road safety checkpoint at the intersection of Georgia 241 and Georgia 309 South.
Fryer stated in the suit that there was a disregard for procedures while Landrum executed the PIT maneuver.
“We believe this is a very serious matter and that the actions of Trooper Landrum were negligent and also showed a reckless disregard for proper law enforcement procedures in attempting to execute the PIT maneuver at such a high rate of speed,” Fryer said.
According to the Georgia Department of Public Safety policy manual, PIT maneuvers are one method used to end pursuits. The policy states that officials should, “make a reasonable effort to apprehend violators,” who flee or attempt to elude officers. “However the department recognizes and respects the value and special integrity of each and every human life,” it goes on to state.
The policy states that officers must use discretion and good judgment on whether to continue pursuits.
“It must be understood that every violator will not be apprehended. In some situations the most professional and reasonable decision would be to terminate a pursuit in the interest of their own and the public’s safety,” it states.
Fryer stated in the suit that the use of the PIT maneuver was unreasonable and dangerous, it was executed in the dark and there was a deep ditch immediately adjacent to where the PIT maneuver was executed.
He also claims the maneuver was made in an area where there was a possibility of oncoming traffic and it was executed just before a hill.
Sloan was not wearing her seatbelt at the time of the incident and Fryer claims Landrum could have observed this prior to executing the PIT maneuver.