No charges in 2013 crash that killed Central High student

awomack@macon.comJanuary 9, 2014 

A year after a 17-year-old Central High School student was killed in a car crash, prosecutors have decided not to file criminal charges.

Nashandra Harriett Finney was riding to school with her father just before 7 a.m. on Jan. 10, 2013, when his 1992 Mazda Protege and another teenager’s Toyota 4-Runner collided on Forsyth Road near Tucker Road. Finney died soon after the crash.

In a statement released Thursday, Bibb County Solicitor Rebecca Grist said there’s “insufficient evidence to prove a criminal offense beyond a reasonable doubt.”

She said the decision came after a “careful investigation and review of all evidence available.”

A copy of the Georgia State Patrol’s crash investigation reports was released Thursday.

The documents include conflicting statements from three people who saw the crash. As a result, troopers were unable to determine which driver had the green light.

Attorneys for Finney and the other driver, Claire Patton, each have said their client had the right of way.

Harold Finney told troopers he remembers having a green light at the intersection and “the next thing he knew there was a collision,” according to the state patrol reports. He told troopers he couldn’t remember anything else.

Patton told authorities she was driving her brother to a Bible study session off Price Road.

She said she waited for the green turn arrow before entering the intersection.

“The next thing she remembered was her vehicle spinning,” according to the reports.

The investigation estimated that Finney had been driving 56 mph in a 45 mph zone. Patton was going about 20 mph.

An initial crash report noted that Patton failed to yield the right of way and neither driver was distracted.

Harold Finney sustained fractured ribs, and his legs were crushed.

Patton and her younger brother were treated for minor injuries.

Duke Groover, a lawyer representing Patton, said “although the Patton family is pleased with the decision of the solicitor’s office, their thoughts and prayers are still with the Finney family.”

A year later, the Finney family is still grieving the loss of their daughter.

“They miss their daughter terribly,” said Zack Dozier, the family’s lawyer.

Harold Finney is still recovering from his injuries.

Dozier said the Finney family doesn’t “have any malice in their hearts toward Patton” and “their prayers go out to her and her family.”

While Dozier said the family respects prosecutors’ decision not to file criminal charges, he said they will be pursing civil action.

To contact writer Amy Leigh Womack, call 744-4398.

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