Trooper Faced with Tough Decision after Hearing on Radio Who's in Car During Chase


Law enforcement officers deal with a wide variety of challenges during their work day. Sometimes they get to deal with the public in low-stress ways such as helping out community members in need or going to schools to teach kids about safety.

But sometimes they are put in situations that present a danger not just to them, but to others as well. Car chases can be particularly risky not only to those in the car being pursued and to the officers engaged in the pursuit, but to anyone else in the way of the high speed action.

She wouldn’t still be considered a rookie, but the Georgia State Trooper had graduated from Trooper School less than a year before and received recognition for her leadership, according to the Georgia Department of Public Safety press release.

The 97th Trooper School training was intense and continued after Trooper School with “1,500 hours of training, including driving, defensive tactics, vehicle stops, Spanish, criminal law and criminal procedure, firearms, accident investigation, and various other training which includes child passenger safety technician certification.”

Knifeman's Rampage Ends with 7 People Dead

She had no way of knowing during one particular Saturday shift just how much of all of that training she was going to have to rely on. She had no way of knowing lives were going to be dependent upon it and her leadership abilities.

According to The Newnan Times-Herald, Officer Lindsey Barber “was running radar near mile marker 38.” She clocked a red Fiat 500 traveling at 118 mph and proceeded to try to pull the vehicle over.

The driver, Mario Dewayne Anderson, 31, ignored her and continued to speed down the northbound lane of I-85 until he got to Exit 41. At that point he took the exit, ran a red light and got back on I-85 using the southbound exit lane.

Now driving into oncoming traffic via the southbound emergency lane, the pursuit continued, but Anderson was not alone in the car.

A woman and three children were in it with him, with Sgt. Katie Thompson later reportedly telling The Associated Press, “I’m sure it terrified the kids in the car and everybody they were coming at.”

As Barber continued the pursuit, Anderson closed in on a construction zone, at which point the Fiat hit a concrete barrier on the front passenger side. This sent the car into a spin, which put it in the path of a Ford F-150 pickup truck that collided with the rear passenger side.

From there, the car went onto the shoulder, hit a guardrail, and stopped in the emergency lane. But the stop didn’t put an end to the danger. The car caught on fire with all the occupants still inside.

Massive: Transgender Athletes Banned from Women's Sports By NAIA in Major Blow to LGBT

Barber rushed to the scene, and used two fire extinguishers as she doused the flames. Everyone was rescued from the Fiat, but injuries were severe.

Although the children — ages 8, 10, and 11 — were all wearing seat belts, they sustained “broken limbs, along with head and internal injuries,” and were transported by ambulance to Atlanta’s Egleston Children’s Hospital.

The woman in the front passenger seat was transported to Grady Memorial Hospital via airlift after sustaining a broken leg and pelvis, along with severe head trauma.

Anderson was arrested without incident and was charged with a laundry list of crimes: “fleeing/attempting to elude police, passing on shoulder, open container, impeding the flow of traffic, serious injury by vehicle, three counts of DUI endangering a child, driving with a suspended license, aggressive driving, three counts of serious injury by vehicle, driver to use due care, failure to maintain lane, driving on the wrong side of the roadway, running a red light, improper turn, and speeding.”

Anderson and the driver of the pickup truck were reportedly uninjured in the incident and Barber has been hailed as a hero for her quick thinking and courage in helping to save lives.

Truth and Accuracy

Submit a Correction →

We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.