DOUGLAS COUNTY, Ga. —
A judge sentenced a former Douglas County deputy in a deadly wreck that tore apart a community, two families, and the sheriff’s department.Chris Black pleaded guilty to felony vehicular homicide for the Nov. 2007 wreck that killed the wife of a fellow deputy.
Friday during his sentencing hearing, Black asked for forgiveness from the family and mercy from the judge.
“If I could take her place I would,” said former deputy Black. “In a heartbeat.”
Black was a deputy in 2007 when he decided, on his own, to respond to an armed robbery call. He did not activate his squad car’s lights or sirens.
Doing nearly 90 mph on Highway 5, he lost control and hit the car driven by Tammy Barnwell head-on.
Barnwell, a wife and popular manager of the Douglasville Walmart, died instantly.
A long line of her family and friends spoke to the judge about her life, their loss and their continuing anger.
Bob Barnwell, Tammy’s husband, himself a deputy sheriff, spoke to the judge about how her death has affected him.
“My life has just been hell since this happened,” said Bob Barnwell. “I’ve lost 60 pounds, nothing tastes good, I don’t enjoy anything. I’m just dead inside.”
But Black’s family and friends asked for mercy. They called the incident a “momentary lapse of judgment” and a “tragic accident”.
Black said he just wanted it to be over.
“I guess all I ask for is mercy and forgiveness from the family so that we can all move on, that’s all I wanted for today was closure…not only for the family but for myself and my family,” said Black.
Black pleaded guilty to a felony vehicular homicide charge.
The judge sentenced Black to 10 years probation and he can no longer be a law enforcement officer.