Sheriff’s Capt. Deborah Hannah was responding to a burglar alarm at her own home the afternoon of Jan. 2 when her sport utility vehicle collided with another car, sheriff’s officials said.
The crash injured both Capt. Hannah, the driver of the car and the driver’s 4-year-old daughter, though their injuries were reportedly not life-threatening. Meanwhile the burglar alarm was later found to have been a false alarm, sheriff’s officials said.
The driver of the other vehicle was identified as Danielle Mask, 29, of Fayetteville, who also had her 4-year-old daughter in a booster seat, officials said.
Mask was taken to Atlanta Medical Center and her daughter was taken to Scottish Rite Children’s Medical Center; Hannah was transported to Piedmont Fayette Hospital.
The crash is being investigated by the Georgia State Patrol, a standard move for any wreck involving a sheriff’s vehicle, officials said.
Sheriff’s officials said that Mask’s vehicle for some reason pulled into the path of Capt. Hannah’s vehicle at the intersection of South Jeff Davis Drive and Helen Sams Parkway, and Capt. Hannah was unable to avoid it.
Sheriff’s officials have said Capt. Hannah was responding to the call with her vehicle’s lights and sirens activated. But Hannah’s supervisor acknowledged today that generally deputies do not respond to burglar alarm calls with lights and sirens unless there is an indication that the burglar is still on the scene or in the area.
Sheriff’s Maj. Bryan Woodie said the question of whether to use lights and sirens responding to a burglar alarm is not addressed in the department’s standard operating procedures.
Woodie said the crash will be reviewed by a five-member accident review board which meets monthly and evaluates whether auto accidents were preventable and whether any policy violations occurred.
That committee hands down a punishment if necessary in each case, Woodie noted. He guessed that because the wreck is being investigated by GSP, the sheriff’s office would wait until that report is done before the accident will be reviewed by the panel.
Normally any appeal of the accident review board’s decision would be heard by the sheriff, but because Capt. Hannah is the wife of Sheriff Wayne Hannah, it’s likely the sheriff will ask someone outside the department to hear such an appeal if one is made, Woodie said.
Capt. Hannah is in charge of youth services for the sheriff’s department, which includes the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) instructors and school resource officers. Her unit is under the patrol division headed by Maj. Woodie.
The sheriff’s department sent out a news release about the crash less than three hours after it occurred, but the release did not mention that Capt. Hannah was responding to a burglar alarm at her own home.