A quiet holiday for local police

By Michael Davis

Local police and sheriff's departments all reported a quiet holiday Thursday and Friday. But while residents huddled around the Thanksgiving dinner-table and in the local and regional malls, the only disturbances seemed to be traffic accidents, one of those proving fatal.

Around noon Friday, Henry County Bureau of Police Services responded to an accident in which one person was killed and three others injured on US Highway 19/41.

According to Henry County police Lt. Joe Tammaro, 18-year-old David Holmes of Hampton was killed when the car he was in was struck by another while being towed across U.S. Highway 19/41 on Ga. Highway 81.

Tammaro said a 1994 Mustang, driven by 41-year-old Juanita Sullivan of Griffin, struck the 1989 Mustang in which Holmes was being towed, killing him.

Justin Holmes was not injured, but Sullivan and her two unidentified passengers were taken to the hospital for treatment for minor injuries.

Asked why David Holmes might have been in a car that was being towed, Tammaro replied, "It was apparently being towed in such a way that it required steering." It was unclear Friday evening whether charges would be filed in the case.

The only major incident of the two-day period, Clayton County Police Capt. Jeff Turner ventured to guess that people just stayed home. "The only thing I can think of is people are focused on Christmas and the holidays," he said.

While driving around the Southlake Mall area Friday afternoon, Turner said traffic was moving smoothly. "Traffic is a little heavy, but I don't think it's like people thought it would be." Though he said he had been off for the holiday, McDonough Police Chief Preston Dorsey said nothing unusual had been brought to his attention.

"It's just been the regular old routine stuff," Dorsey said. "Just a couple of wrecks, no injuries?just stuff we put up with on a daily basis."

Morrow Police Chief Kenny Smith said he was relieved by the quiet holiday respite. Reached by phone following the day watch Friday, Smith joked, "If you jinx me, I'm coming after you."

"It's been unbelievably quiet today."

Noting how weather conditions improved throughout the day Friday and more drivers hit the roads shopping, Smith said, "Traffic has probably gotten a little worse as the day went on, but we haven't had major problems."

Clayton and Henry county jails seemed quiet as well. Having only taken in five inmates by noon Friday, Sgt. Sandra cook of the Henry County Sheriff's Office described Friday as similar to a weekend. "It's like a Saturday because of the holiday. We don't have all the outside courts," that cause the inmate population to rise during the week, she said. Deputies said most of those who come in on Fridays are there to serve time ordered by a court.

Other jail officials noted that the inmate population was significantly lower than a normal weekday.

Sgt. Grant Kidd, watch commander at the Clayton County Jail, said that Clayton's inmate population was 1,295?normal for the jail. "We might fluctuate 15 or 20 inmates?but that's normal for us."

Kidd predicted an increase in incidents toward the end of the holiday weekend however, but said things were pretty quiet on Friday. "Sunday will be the travel day when people go back home," he said. He said sheriff's deputies will probably be citing more traffic ordinance violations as the weekend wanes.

Lead dispatcher for Henry County 911 Steve Ward said the call volume was probably even lower than Thanksgiving last year. "We really haven't even had a lot of accidents," he said. "We haven't been that busy."

Clayton County 911 reported 20 accidents Thursday, more than an average day, said 911 supervisor Noreen Stevens. "It was probably a typical rain-day, but not for a holiday."