Gwinnett County, GA — Earlier this year, Sarah Wood was stuck in rush hour traffic on I-85, driving just 6 mph, when her life would be forever changed. One moment, she is idling down the interstate in traffic and the next, more than a month later, she would wake up in the hospital, having been in a coma. She was struck by a cop who was not paying attention and who was driving 70 mph when he smashed his car into hers. He wasn’t paying attention because he was distracted by Grand Theft Auto playing in his cruiser. Seriously.
This would be 8th at-fault crash in which Gwinnett County police Officer Todd Ramsey would be involved. But his negligence back on April 1 would be his worst.
Despite putting an innocent woman in a coma while playing a Grand Theft Auto video, Ramsey would only receive a citation for “following to closely.”
When his fellow cops showed up to the scene, body camera video shows they appeared to be more concerned with Ramsey than the innocent woman he nearly killed.
“How you holding up, boss?” asked an officer on police body camera video. Police then try to find out who he hit, but Ramsey can’t tell them.
“Do you know what car it is? He says he doesn’t know,” said an officer.
Ramsey had no idea who he hit because he wasn’t even looking where he was going. Instead, he was paying attention to Grand Theft Auto playing on his police laptop. It was still playing when other officers showed up.
As the cops make sure their fellow officer is okay, Sarah Wood is slowly dying inside her car. Ramsey hit her so hard that personal items from her trunk ended up inside his patrol car.
“I was sitting in traffic and pretty much next thing I knew, I woke up in the hospital. I don’t remember anything after that,” Wood said.
“I don’t believe there was any attempt to stop or swerve because he didn’t see her because he wasn’t looking,” said Wood’s attorney, Susan Witt.
The police department never admitted that Ramsey was playing a Grand Theft Auto video at the time of the crash. Instead, Channel 2 Action News filed an open records request for the internal Gwinnett County police investigation into the crash to find out.
The internal investigation revealed that Ramsey had multiple browser screens open on his cruiser’s laptop pulling a large amount of data.
According to Channel 2, the investigation states that before getting on the highway, Ramsey was sitting and watching a Grand Theft Auto video and that video was still playing at the time of the crash.
After the crash, Ramsey mentioned nothing of the Grand Theft Auto Video, instead claiming he had a problem with his eye or contact. Ramsey would like us to believe that instead of slowing down or pulling over to fix his contact, he drove blind down the interstate at 70 mph during rush hour traffic.
Wood, who was born deaf, was in a coma for weeks. Because of the traumatic brain injury she suffered from the crash, she can no longer work, and her hearing aids cause her pain.
“I don’t want to call this an accident. This wasn’t an accident; this was a serious collision that should of and could have been avoided,” Witt said.
Indeed. Ramsey should have never been behind the wheel of a car, especially watching Grand Theft Auto. As stated above, this was his eighth at-fault accident. How was he allowed to keep a driver’s license, much less a police issued vehicle after crashing it seven times before? This is a rhetorical question.
After putting an innocent woman in a coma, nothing would happen to Ramsey other than the ticket. It would take six months for the department to demote this negligent driver from master police officer to police officer senior. Likely due to the fact that they are going to have to pay out a massive settlement for this reckless cop’s affinity for watching Grand Theft Auto videos while speeding down the interstate, he was permanently assigned to the Tele-Serve Unit and “prohibited from driving or operating a Gwinnett County vehicle for any reason.”
Rightfully so, Wood doesn’t think this is enough. She’s already mounted over $500,000 in medical bills and is unable to work for the rest of her life. This guy gets a ticket and plush desk job.
Given the department’s failure to discipline Ramsey until his eighth crash, Wood is worried other cops may have similar driving habits and are ticking time bombs waiting to go off.
“You know I don’t want anybody else to get hurt,” Wood said.
“I don’t understand why these officers should be exempt from adhering to the rules that apply to everyone else,” Witt said.
Sadly, however, this appears to be the case most of the time. In fact, TFTP just reported a similar incident this month. A cop in Baton Rouge, LA was driving nearly 100 mph, off duty, when he smashed into a car, killing a baby. Although he wasn’t watching Grand Theft Auto, that officer didn’t even get a speeding ticket.