A Columbus man pleaded guilty to aggravated vehicular homicide for a fatal crash that occurred while he fled police.
The victim’s relatives are now in a dispute with police over whether the man was being chased by authorities at the time.
The victim was 28-year-old Joseph Andrew Ball, known as Dru to family and friends. He was the youngest of four brothers.
“He's the baby, so we all kind of watched out for him, made sure nothing happened to him,” said Tim Rife, Dru’s brother.
But none of them were able to save Dru last August, when the truck he was riding in was t-boned by a speeding car. Rife was at the wheel of the truck when they were hit.
“Next thing I know, I was out of the truck in the air, and I landed in the middle of the street,” added Rife. “I saw him lying there, and I tried to get to him. My legs wasn't working. I tried to crawl to him."
Rife was taken to the hospital, where his mother told him that Dru did not make it.
“I feel like I let my brother down, you know, that's how I feel,” said Rife.
Jermaine Jamerson was the driver who struck the brothers as he was fleeing a traffic stop, investigators say.
On Wednesday, he pleaded guilty to aggravated vehicular homicide.
“I know that it was an accident. I know that man did not intentionally mean to kill him, but that's what happened. And if he's man enough to own up to it, why can't the police?” added Rife.
Rife and his family said Jamerson and Columbus police share responsibility for Dru's death.
They say Jamerson was being chased.
Columbus Police say there was no chase.
On Wednesday, police released dash camera video of the traffic stop to prove it. The video shows Jamerson's Silver Dodge Charger suddenly speeding away from a traffic stop.
The officers scramble to their cruisers, and just as they start moving, up ahead you see the collision.
Columbus police Sgt. Rich Weiner said it's clear, the crash happened before any pursuit could begin.
“It's very tragic that there was a loss of life here, but after viewing the video, it's obvious that it was the suspect's actions and not the officers' that caused this accident,” said Weiner.
Jamerson will be sentenced on April 18. He faces a maximum of six and a half years in prison.
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