Police issue citations to drivers videoing car wreck

Updated: May. 25, 2018 at 11:09 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Georgia State Patrol is handling an investigation after a crash on I-16 near Dean Forest Road killed a Savannah police officer.

Troopers say Officer Anthony Christie was working an earlier crash on I-16 near Dean Forest Road, using his patrol car to block the eastbound lanes when it was hit by the tractor-trailer driven by Charles Livingston of Soperton, Georgia. Charges are pending based on the findings of the investigation and toxicology reports.

Several drivers passing the wrecks Friday morning were cited for trying to capture the scene on their cell phones. Pooler Police issued five tickets Friday morning to drivers taking photos and videos while still driving their vehicles.

"On their cell phone and using video on their cell phone, actually driving through an accident, scene not paying attention," said Lt. Victor Tyson of the Pooler Police Department. "Officers out on the crash scene, fire department, EMS personnel, and it can be a dangerous time."

After spending two hours driving around Savannah with a photographer in the backseat, driver after driver was caught behind the wheel using their cellphones.

Another wreck on I-16 took place around 7:30 p.m. Friday near the I-95 northbound interchange. Police say four more citations were issued to drivers trying to video and take pictures of the scene.

WTOC caught one of those drivers on video.

WTOC loves when viewers send videos and pictures of news, but the news station wants your car in park before you snap that footage. WTOC follows the law when capturing video through trucks like the WTOC Storm Chaser and Traffic Tracker that have built-in video technology.

On July 1, the Hands Free law will go into effect and highlights, "A driver may not record video." One of the exceptions listed is if you are, "Reporting a traffic crash, medical emergency, fire, criminal activity or hazardous road conditions."

However, the law says that is through a phone call, and not by videoing or taking pictures to report.

Pooler PD says cops in Georgia are already on the lookout, but will soon be cracking down.

"Once July hits, the Hands Free law will be heavily enforced," Lt. Tyson said.

For more information on the Georgia Hands-free Act, click here. Click here to read the complete law.

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