Macon bicyclist sues state agency, trooper for $1 million

A Macon man is suing the Georgia Department of Public Safety and a Georgia State Patrol trooper for $1 million two years after he was struck by the trooper’s car during a police chase.

Tony Chatfield Jr. was on a bicycle headed eastbound on the shoulder of the emergency lane on Eisenhower Parkway on June 23, 2010, when two troopers and a Macon police investigator from the U.S. Marshals Southeast Regional Fugitive Task Force started chasing him, according to the lawsuit that was filed Friday in Bibb County Superior Court.

At that time, Chatfield was a suspect in the May 21, 2010, killing of Christopher Finney, 29. He later was cleared of suspicion and became a witness in the case, said the investigator, Enrique Hogan.

During the chase, trooper Thomas K. Wilson tried to use his patrol car to stop Chatfield. He struck the bicycle, causing Chatfield to be thrown from his bike and to go over the guardrail, according to the lawsuit.

Chatfield’s knees, legs and back were injured, according to the court filing.

His lawyers argue that Wilson was negligent and violated Georgia Department of Public Safety policy by using his patrol car to “box in” Chatfield. They also argue he inappropriately used “deadly force,” according to the lawsuit.

A representative of the Georgia Department of Public Safety said the department does not comment on pending litigation.

She said Wilson is still a trooper.

A message left for Chatfield’s lawyers was not returned Monday.

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