MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – A local man is seeking damages after he says Macon police handed his car over to a drunk person.
For months now, Carlos Sledge has been working to get his 1996 Chevy Impala back. In December, his car was totaled after a deadly accident at Mercer University Drive and Columbus Road. 39-year-old David Coley died in the accident.
But Sledge had no idea who Coley was or how he ended up behind the wheel of his car. Sledge dropped his car off earlier at an East Macon repair shop to replace a part. He said, the mechanic, Darren Bivins and Coley took the car out for a joy ride.
"I took my car to a local repair shop and later that night the owner received a DUI," Sledge said.
According to police reports, Bivins was arrested that night for Driving Under the Influence. In the report, the officer wrote "I went to the passenger and he stated he didn't have a license so he couldn't drive it, but he asked to talk to Mr. Bivins. I advised him he could. The passenger went over and Mr. Bivins told him to call his mother to get the car...The driver was taken to the Bibb Co. LEC."
But the report ends there. Sledge claims that the 'passenger' in the narrative was Coley. According to Sledge, after Bivins was arrested, Coley then got behind the wheel of Sledge's car drunk and later died. Sledge blames MPD for allowing Coley back on the road.
"Knowing the driver was impaired more than likely the passenger was too," Sledge said, "so at that time my car should've been impounded."
The Coley family agrees. His brother-in-law, Santonio Johnson, is currently looking for an attorney to take his case. The family said they'd rather seen Coley arrested than dead.
"Check both of them," Johnson said, "being that my brother-in-law didn't have a license, I would've checked both of them and also ran the tag number to see who owns the car."
Sledge has submitted a complaint with the City of Macon Risk Management but hasn't heard back. MPD Spokesperson Jami Gaudet said the officers involved have been cleared by Internal Affairs. However, because the case is now in litigation with the city attorney's office, she could not comment any further.