[UPDATE] Man Dies After Car Accident and Police Tasering

By: Ware County Sheriff's Office Press Release; AP
By: Ware County Sheriff's Office Press Release; AP

Updated 6-24-2011 6:08 PM By Dontaye Carter

Gentle and caring are how family members remember 55-year-old Otto Kolberg.

On Wednesday morning, Kolberg crashed his car into a tree, but when deputies came to help, he became combative---that's when they used the taser gun on the Valdosta man--he died a short time later.

"It's horrible. It's horrible. He was a good man," said Eva Grimsley.

Grimsley is Kolberg's ex-wife. She says she was surprised to hear exactly what happened.

"I knew what type of man he was. He would not intentionally try to hurt anyone," said Grimsley.

But that's not what the Ware County Sheriff's Office is saying, according to police reports, when emergency crews responded to the accident Kolberg became combative.

He started kicking, biting and hitting crews that were trying to help him.

That's when authorities had to use their taser.

The Valdosta man became unresponsive and died a short time later at the hospital.

However, the GBI says a preliminary autopsy report shows Kolberg died from injuries suffered from the crash.

"I don't know what happened or whatever but that wasn't the Otto I know," said Co-Worker Ted Sauls.

Eyewitness News spoke to two men who worked with Kolberg for more than 30 years.

They say his death has been tough for many people to deal with.

"It's a tragedy. He gone now. We gone miss a great man, we really gone miss him and everything," said Co-Worker Kenneth Lane.

The cause of the crash is still under investigation.

Family members tell us Kolberg had health issues and believe that may have been a factor.
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UPDATE 6-24-2011

Waycross, GA (AP) - Authorities say preliminary autopsy results
show that a Valdosta man died of crash injuries -- not a stun gun
shock -- after a south Georgia sheriff's deputy briefly shocked him
at the scene.

Ware County Sheriff Randy Royal said 55-year-old Otto Kolberg
died Wednesday night, shortly after being taken to a Waycross
hospital.

Royal said the paramedic and firefighters were trying to help
Kolberg after his pickup crashed into a utility pole on U.S. 84
between Valdosta and Waycross. Royal said Kolberg became combative, attacked a paramedic and firefighter, and was shocked with the stun gun in an attempt to restrain him.

Georgia Bureau of Investigation Special Agent Russell Mansfield
told the Florida Times-Union that preliminary autopsy results show
that Kolberg died due to injuries consistent with the car wreck.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Ware County, GA - Sheriff Randy Royal stated that Mr. Otto Kolberg, 55 of Valdosta, Georgia died yesterday after his 2001 Toyota Tundra truck left Georgia Highway 38 and struck a utility pole in Ware County.

Witness on scene told Ware County Deputies that they observed Kolberg’s vehicle leave the west bound lane and cross the eastbound lane and continued onto the east shoulder striking a utility pole on Georgia Highway 38 near mile marker 14. After shearing the pole in half his vehicle continued westbound and struck an embankment, then crossed a driveway and finally came to rest after striking a tree.

The Ware County 911 center was notified at approximately 10:20 am yesterday of the single vehicle accident and Ware County EMS, Ware County Fire/Rescue and Ware County Sheriff’s personnel all responded to the accident. Upon arrival, EMS and Fire Department personnel attempted to render emergency aid to Mr. Kolberg, who was still in the vehicle said Sheriff Royal.

“When a Ware County EMT attempted to treat Mr. Kolberg he became combative and physically assaulted her by biting her hand and then kicking her in the chest. When a Paramedic and a Firefighter attempted to restrain Mr. Kolberg he attempted to kick, hit and bite them also” said Royal.

“At this time a Ware County Deputy Sheriff who was assisting in investigating the traffic accident responded to the fighting and attempted to take control of Kolberg so that he would not harm anymore emergency personnel or further injure himself. After being warned several times by the Deputy Sheriff not to fight or “bite” emergency personnel, the Deputy Sheriff utilized non-lethal force in an attempt to gain physical control of Mr. Kolberg, who was again in the process of attempting to bite a Ware County firefighter. The Deputy Sheriff used his X26 Advanced TASER to perform a single “Drive Stun”, and only for a shorten duration of time said Sheriff Royal.”

“Even after the “Drive Stun” technique was utilized Mr. Kolberg continued to resist being treated by emergency personnel at the scene. While at the accident scene Mr. Kolberg began to show signs that he was becoming weak and unable to resist at which time he became unresponsive and emergency personnel started CPR and transported him to the Satilla Regional Medical Center in Waycross where he arrived at 11:04 am. Following unsuccessful medical intervention Mr. Kolberg was pronounced dead at 11:42 am by Ware County Coroner Aitha Lucas” said Sheriff Royal.

Sheriff Royal stated that the “Drive Stun” procedure is made by pressing the front of the TASER with the cartridge removed onto the body of a subject resisting lawful orders, and activating the TASER. The “Drive Stun” causes significant localized pain in the area touched by the TASER but does not have a significant effect on the central nervous system. The Drive Stun does not incapacitate a subject but may assist in taking a subject into custody.

“The Use of the “Drive Stun” technique is taught and authorized by Ware County Sheriff’s Office policy to bring a subject displaying active, aggressive or aggravated aggressive resistance safely under control” said Sheriff Royal.

Sheriff Royal stated that the accident investigation has determined that Mr. Kolberg drove from Valdosta to Waycross yesterday morning to purchase items for his business. After purchasing the items he was returning to Valdosta when the accident occurred.

“While the Ware County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the motor vehicle accident, Mr. Kolberg died a short time after non lethal force (X26 TASER) had been utilized by a Ware County Deputy Sheriff in an attempt to restrain Mr. Kolberg from assaulting emergency personnel at the scene. For this reason I have requested that the GBI conduct an investigation to determine the cause and manner of Mr. Kolberg’s death. The GBI Region 4 office in Douglas, Georgia is conducting that investigation at this time and an autopsy on Mr. Kolberg’s body is scheduled to be performed at the State Crime Lab in Savannah” stated Sheriff Royal.


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