05/22/2012

Father: Ga. cop's leniency led to son's DUI death

In a dash cam video shown to reporters, officer asked suspect three times if he had been drinking

By PoliceOne Staff

BARROW COUNTY, Ga. — An Atlanta-area man says his son died because an officer failed to arrest him during a traffic stop.

Corey Walker, 18, died in May 2010 when his car hit a pole in Walton County shortly after being pulled over by an Auburn police officer, WSBTV reported

Walker’s blood alcohol level was found to be .217, about three times the legal limit for an adult, and father Chris Walker says more should have been done to determine if his son had been drinking.

"[The officer] suspected him of drinking obviously. If he would have just got him out of the truck and checked. They did absolutely nothing and allowed him to drive off," Walker claimed.

In a dash cam video shown to reporters, Officer Scott Pendergrass asked Walker three times if he had been drinking, inquiring if he thinks he would pass a Breathalyzer test.

Walker said yes, and Pendergrass then questioned him about a tapped keg in the truck bed. A passenger, 21, said he owned the keg, and the pair was let go.

A representative from the agency that certifies police officers in Georgia said based on what they saw in the video, they could not draw a conclusion on whether Pendergrass – who was named Auburn’s Officer of the Year in 2011 – should have requested a field sobriety test.

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