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Bray v. State

Court of Appeals of Georgia

February 4, 2015

BRAY
v.
THE STATE

Reconsideration denied February 25, 2015 -- Cert. applied for.

Page 286

Serious injury by vehicle, etc. Oconee Superior Court. Before Judge Adamson, Senior Judge.

Benjamin A. Pearlman, for appellant.

Kenneth W. Mauldin, District Attorney, Kristopher M. Bolden, Assistant District Attorney, for appellee.

BARNES, Presiding Judge. Boggs and Branch, JJ., concur.

OPINION

Page 287

Barnes, Presiding Judge.

Following a bench trial, the trial court found Kirk Devin Bray guilty of multiple offenses arising out of a police car chase and collision with another vehicle, including two counts of serious injury by vehicle, possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Bray filed a motion for new trial, which the trial court denied. On appeal, Bray contends that there was insufficient evidence to convict him of serious injury by vehicle because the State failed to prove the statutory element of " serious disfigurement" ; that there was insufficient evidence to convict him of the firearm-related offenses because the State failed to prove that he knowingly possessed the handgun in question; and that [330 Ga.App. 769] his sentence under Georgia's recidivist statute was unconstitutionally cruel and unusual. For the reasons discussed below, we affirm.

Construed in the light most favorable to the verdict, see Trujillo v. State, 304 Ga.App. 849, 849 (698 S.E.2d 350) (2010), the evidence showed that the Oconee County Sheriff's Office received information to be on the lookout (" BOLO" ) for a gray Ford F350 pickup truck with a particular license tag number that had been stolen from its owner in Greene County on May 1, 2011. On the afternoon of May 5, 2011, sheriff's investigators in two separate vehicles that were traveling northbound on Georgia Highway 441 in response to an unrelated matter observed a pickup truck that matched the description in the BOLO. The truck was in the lane to the right of the investigators and drove up the entrance ramp onto the Georgia 10 Loop.

One of the investigators confirmed with the police dispatcher that the license tag number on the pickup truck matched the tag number identified in the BOLO. The confirmed sighting of the truck was relayed to other patrol units in the area, and a police chase ensued in which several deputies had the blue lights and sirens activated on their vehicles. During the chase, the pickup truck, which was traveling at a speed of 80 to 100 miles per hour, crossed over the median of the Georgia 10 Loop and traveled the wrong direction up the exit ramp onto Georgia Highway 316. The truck then proceeded down Highway 316 until the truck reached the intersection of Highway 316 with the Oconee Connector. At that intersection, the truck crossed over a grass median and over two lanes of oncoming traffic, where it collided head-on with a car that was traveling in the right direction. That car was occupied

Page 288

by an elderly married couple, who were rushed to the hospital by ambulance. Because of complications caused by her blood thinner medication and concerns over her heart rate, the wife remained in the hospital for several days after the collision.

After the collision, the driver of the stolen pickup truck, later identified as Bray, fled on foot into the woods. He was apprehended a few hours later when he emerged from the woods near the scene of the collision. A deputy searched Bray and found a bag of methamphetamine in his pocket, and an investigator searched the pickup truck and discovered, among other items, a handgun in a nylon zippered case on the front passenger floorboard. The ...


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