In the early morning hours of April 26, 2012, DeKalb police were called
to the scene of a wreck between an SUV and a bus. According to the DeKalb
police, an off-duty Atlanta police officer had been driving the wrong
way on I-85. At about 5 A.M., Christopher J. Niezurawski was driving an
SUV and somehow managed to be headed northbound in I-85’s southbound
lanes. Somewhere between I-285 and the Pleasantdale Road exit, Mr. Niezurawski
ran into a Greyhound bus that was headed southbound.
Generally when a car hits a bus, the car gets the bad end of the deal.
Miraculously, however, Mr. Niezurawski had only minor injuries, and was
treated and released from the hospital. Very fortunately, no one from
the bus was injured.
CBS 46 here in Atlanta reported that Mr. Niezurawski was “suspected of
driving under the influence of alcohol” and “was charged with
DUI, reckless driving and operating a vehicle going the wrong way.”
The case is especially sad because Mr. Niezurawski has been an Atlanta
Police Officer for nearly 8 years, and yet because of this incident he
was “relieved from duty with pay, pending the outcome of an investigation
by the department’s Office of Professional Standards.”
In this blog, I have been taking a look at some local car accidents, analyzing
them from a legal perspective since I am an I-85 car accident lawyer handling
car wrecks lawsuits in DeKalb County, Atlanta, and throughout Georgia.
Going the Wrong Way on the Road and Causing an Accident
Georgia has a law – of course – that you have to drive the
right way on a road. O.C.G.A. § 40-6-47 says:
The Department of Transportation and local authorities with respect to
highways under their respective jurisdictions may designate any highway,
roadway, part of a roadway, or specific lanes upon which vehicular traffic
shall proceed in one direction at all of such times as shall be indicated
by official traffic-control devices. . . . Upon a roadway so designated
for one-way traffic, a vehicle shall be driven only in the direction designated
at all or such times as shall be indicated by official traffic-control devices.
Mr. Niezurawski was also to be charged with reckless driving.
O.C.G.A. § 40-6-390 provides that a reckless driver is “[a]ny person who drives any
vehicle in reckless disregard for the safety of persons or property.”
Mr. Niezurawski was also charged with driving under the influence, which
is controlled by
O.C.G.A. § 40-6-391. Under that statute, a person is driving under the influence if “the
person’s alcohol concentration is 0.08 grams or more at any time
within three hours after such driving or being in actual physical control
from alcohol consumed before such driving or being in actual physical
control ended.” I have not seen any statement about what Mr. Niezurawski’s
blood alcohol level was at the time he was charged with a DUI wreck.
The news reported that Mr. Niezurawski had received a personal injury in
a motorcycle wreck in Atlanta in March 2011. He was been on duty when
a car turned into him.