Atlanta family raises money, seeks justice after innocent bystander dies in police pursuit

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

An Atlanta mother of three was an innocent bystander killed during a police chase last week. Now her family wants justice, according to a GoFundMe page.

Tamara Taylor was driving Friday afternoon near Campbellton and Barge Roads in Atlanta when another driver hit her.

The driver of the other vehicle, 31-year-old Ryan Hicks, was driving a Ram 1500 pickup truck that day, the Georgia Department of Public Safety told USA TODAY. The Atlanta Police Department called Georgia State Patrol troopers to help stop the truck just before 3 p.m.

A trooper responded to Martin Luther King Jr. Drive at Fairburn Road, where Atlanta police had initially tried to initiate a traffic stop. Hicks, who was driving the pickup truck, refused to stop, starting a police chase instead.

Once troopers got involved, Atlanta police fell back. During the chase with troopers, Hicks got on Interstate 285 and began driving "in a reckless manner" before getting off onto Campbellton Road, the Georgia Department of Public Safety told USA TODAY.

Hicks got to the intersection of Campbellton Road and Barge Road, where he ran a red light and hit a Taylor's Dodge Challenger. The crash caused Taylor's car to leave the road and hit a utility pole. She died at the scene.

Crash is under investigation

The Georgia State Patrol Troop C Specialized Collision Reconstruction Team is investigating the crash.

"Our agency wants to emphasize there was no contact between the trooper’s car and the violator’s car during or prior to the crash," the Georgia Department of Public Safety said in a statement to USA TODAY.

The department said Hicks is facing four felony charges, as well as 14 misdemeanor charges. The felony charges include murder, homicide by vehicle in the first degree, fleeing and possession of marijuana with intent to distribute.

Other charges include reckless and aggressive driving, driving in an emergency lane with no emergency and speeding.

Officers said the truck was involved in a police pursuit days before the fatal crash.

Family pushes for change after fatal crash

People are killed each day during high-speed chases between police and suspects, many of them being innocent bystanders.

Taylor’s family told Atlanta News First they want policies regarding police pursuits to change.

“It wasn’t worth a life, an innocent life,” said her father, Charles Atkins. “All because of a chase.”

He said the people chasing Hicks shouldn’t have chased him at such high speeds.

“Why would they allow them to pursue somebody at that speed?” Atkins said to Atlanta News First. “It has to change, it needs to stop now. I’m not going to rest until something is done about it.”

Captain Michael Burns with Georgia State Patrol said in a statement to USA TODAY that the Georgia Department of Public Safety's pursuit policy allows members to operate at "objectively reasonable" speeds.

"We have procedures that take place after a pursuit to ensure appropriate information is gathered, and each individual pursuit is analyzed in accordance with its own unique fact pattern," he wrote. "This generates a continuous review of our pursuits and the actions of our troopers and officers."

Her oldest daughter, Oriana Baugh, created an online fundraiser through GoFundMe to seek justice for her mother. As of Tuesday afternoon, the family has raised nearly $600 of its $50,000 goal.

“I want justice for my mother,” Baugh wrote under the fundraiser. “My mother was a good parent. She didn’t deserve to be (in) that accident at all … Please help us raise this money.”

Saleen Martin is a reporter on USA TODAY's NOW team. She is from Norfolk, Virginia – the 757. Follow her on Twitter at @SaleenMartin or email her at

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Family pushes for change after mother of three killed in police pursuit