Throwing Sticks and Stones can be a Felony in Georgia

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A former client of mine was operating his work vehicle in a safe and prudent manner in the early morning on August 19, 2014 in a southerly direction on Interstate 985 when all of a sudden he felt like a bomb had exploded both above and in his vehicle. In reality, my client’s van was struck by a small boulder that an adult threw from the Athens Street overpass above. The boulder struck the driver’s side front door which caused the entire window to shatter as the boulder traveled along the side of his van. If the boulder had come just a little bit closer to the front windshield or the driver’s side window, then I think I can say with certainty that my client would have been severely injured. The incident made national news.

Unfortunately, my client was not the only victim. Unbeknownst to him, a group of three to four men had voluntarily elected to throw heavy boulders at another vehicle below roughly one half hour later. In fact, one boulder had struck another vehicle as it entered the moon roof window and destroyed the back seat of the car. If an infant had been placed in the back seat of that car, then surely the infant would have perished.

Richard Elliot of WSB TV Channel 2 in Atlanta decided to interview my client in my office the day after this event. Mr. Elliot and I had actually met in the past regarding a separate newsworthy event and I had no concerns in allowing him to speak to my client. WSB TV aired the segment the night of the interview. In retrospect, the television segment was important in that it alerted the public and warned others from engaging in such a dangerous activity in the future.

As for the group of men involved in this incident, the Gainesville police had arrested two of the four men, Khyrie Harris, 21 and Juan Peterson, 18, and charged them with felony criminal damage and terroristic acts shortly after the incident. At the time of this blog, the police were still searching for Kendrik Perry, 19 and Michael Ellis, 21.

The law in Georgia, now known as the Terrorist Threat Law, is rightfully harsh for folks who are convicted of terroristic acts as the perception of and security prevention toward terrorist acts changed forever after the 9/11 attacks in NYC. For our limited germane purpose as to this blog post, the code in Georgia, O.C.G.A. 16-11-37, provides in pertinent part “[t]hat a person commits the offense of a terrorist act when… he or she shoots at or throws an object at a conveyance which is being operated or which is occupied by passengers.” Under the facts of the incident recited above, any person who threw a boulder (object) at my client’s vehicle (a conveyance) committed a terroristic act. If the prosecutors in Hall County, Georgia, can prove that the individuals engaged in a terroristic act, then the perpetrators are subject to imprisonment for not less than 5 years nor more than 20 years OR by a fine of not less than $100,000.00 OR both!

Can you imagine being subject to at least 5 years up to 20 as well as a $100,000.00 fine for a horrible lapse in judgment? I presume that these men would not be able to pay a $100,000.00 fine so the punishment would be probably be solely related to imprisonment in a maximum security state prison. Face it, things changed after 9/11 and the varied punishment for terroristic threats and acts changed too. It is certainly possible to be imprisoned for throwing sticks and stones in Georgia!

If you or a loved one has been the victim of a terrorist act, threat or auto injury, then you may have a right to be compensated for your pain and suffering and damages. It is particularly important to contact an experienced personal injury attorney who is familiar these types of incidents to document and preserve evidence and present your claim in a timely fashion.

The Law Offices of Kevin C. Ford is currently accepting car, truck and motorcycle wreck and collision cases throughout Georgia. If you or a loved one has been injured as the result of the negligence of a negligent driver, then please contact us today for a free consultation and evaluation of your case. We have over 20 years experience and practice throughout the State of Georgia and can come to you. Please call 404-869-6969 or use our toll free number (855) LAW-FORD to secure your rights today!