Family seeks answers in fatal hit-and-run - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Family seeks answers in fatal hit-and-run

Posted: Updated: Sep 18, 2013 06:17 PM

A family is searching for answers after a Douglas County man was killed in a hit-and-run crash.

The family of Gary Latimer made the agonizing decision to take him off life support on Tuesday after being in critical condition since Saturday night.

Investigators said that Latimer was struck by a vehicle as he attempted to cross Fairburn Road in Douglasville.

The accident happened across the street from the Douglasville Public Safety and Municipal Court.  He had just been released on a misdemeanor public intoxication charge.

Valerie Latimer, the victim's wife, thinks the accident could have been prevented.

"I want to know why they released him 51 minutes after him being locked up," said Valerie Latimer.

FOX 5 has learned that Georgia has no law stating how long law enforcement is required to hold a person charged with public intoxication.

"We don't have a time limit right now of any rules saying how long we'll hold that subject," said Douglasville Police Chief Chris Womack. "I can assure you we are going from top to bottom with every officer that came in contact with this individual."

Police came into contact with Gary Latimer twice on Saturday night. Police were first called out to Pinecrest Drive on a suspicious person call. They met up with Latimer and told him to go home.

A short time later, they were called out on another suspicious call. On that call, they arrested Latimer. FOX 5 has learned that the person who made that call was Douglasville Mayor Harvey Persons.

"He was talking about the spaceship and the aliens and then, something that kind of disturbed me a little bit, he said he was going to get his people," Persons said. "I asked him if he would just stay here. I was certainly concerned because it appeared that he had already tried to break into one of my neighbor's homes."

Investigators have released a description of the vehicle that hit Latimer Saturday night as he attempted to cross Fairburn Road. Authorities describe the vehicle as a 1997-1998 maroon or burgundy Buick Regal or Century Limited. The vehicle will have a broken passenger side mirror and possibly front end damage.

Family members planned to hold a vigil at the accident scene on Wednesday night.

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