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Hogansville City Council turns damage claim over to insurance

Notice alleges damage in police-related wreck

By James Morton

jmorton@civitasmedia.com

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HOGANSVILLE — City Council on Monday voted to deny an ante litem notice claiming damages from an officer striking a car and injuring its three occupants.

“Three people were involved in a car crash about two weeks ago,” said James Woods, Hogansville city manager. “The (city) attorney has recommended that we deny the claim and turn it over to our insurance company.”

An ante litem notice is sent to local governments showing an intent to file a law suit against the government for personal injuries. It is required under Georgia law, section 36-33-5.

The notice was filed by the Duke Law Firm of Carrollton on behalf of Marissa Lindsey and two minors. It claims that on Aug. 27 at about 1:56 p.m., Hogansville police officer Jimmy Coleman hit the vehicle Lindsey and the minors occupied after making a U-turn to chase a speeding vehicle. Lindsey and the two minors complained of multiple injuries, including pain and contusions.

According the Georgia State Patrol report, Coleman was traveling south on Ga. Highway 14 and used lights but not sirens. He turned right into a private residence, intending to make a U-turn. Lindsey attempted to pass on the left, but was struck on the passenger side by Coleman’s patrol car.

Lindsey admitted that she did partially cross the double yellow center line, a no passing zone, according to the GSP reports.

Two of the claims asked for $100,000 each to settle. One claim asked for $50,000.

In another matter, council also heard from Marcus Rakestraw, city code enforcement and animal control officer, about its proposed dog-tethering ordinance.

“I think it’s an easy way people use to restrain their dogs,” Rakestraw said about tethering and chaining. “… There are many different ways you could keep your dog on your property, whether it be a fence, an electric fence, obedience school — there are many different ways your can keep your dog on your property.”

Rakestraw said he thought that chaining dogs was cruel and he was in favor of the proposed ordinance that would prohibit chaining or tethering.

Council tabled the proposal Monday for more discussion.

Also Monday, council unanimously voted to approve its updated code of ordinances. The book will contain ordinances approved since mid-2004 to Dec. 31, 2013, said Lisa Kelly, city clerk. It notes that the city will no longer use its prior book of ordinances.

“The 2004 code had a number of different issues in it that from 2004 to 2013 the city had made changes in it,” Woods said. “The FEMA flood plain ordinance had to be changed from 2011 to 2013. We’ve made changes to our truck ordinance, our alcohol ordinance. … Basically it draws a line in the sand so that anything prior to last night was cleaned.”

James Morton is a reporter at LaGrange Daily News. He may be reached at 706-884-7311, ext. 2154. Follow him on Twitter at @jmorton_LDN.