Man found guilty of vehicular homicide in crash that killed Ga. officer
Officer Christopher Eric Ewing was remembered as ‘the voice you wanted to hear when you needed help’
By Henri Hollis
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
SMYRNA, Ga. — A driver who was involved in a 2020 crash that killed a Smyrna police officer was found guilty this month of vehicular homicide, among other charges, officials said.
A jury found Robert Lorenzo Cox, 38, guilty on four of his five indicted charges, Cobb County District Attorney Flynn D. Broady said in a statement Thursday. Cox is scheduled to be sentenced in a hearing next month.
The crash, which took place April 20, 2020, fatally injured Officer Christopher Ewing, who was working traffic enforcement the night of the incident. According to Broady, Ewing noticed Cox’s Chevrolet Tahoe speeding on South Cobb Drive and attempted to make a traffic stop.
Before Ewing caught up to the Tahoe, Cox tried to make a left-hand turn in front of the police car, Broady said. Ewing attempted to avoid the SUV, but the two vehicles collided and sent the patrol car into the parking lot of a nearby gas station.
Ewing was trapped inside until emergency medical personnel were able to extract him. The officer died from his injuries.
Witnesses told investigators they saw Cox take two beer bottles out of his car and throw them away. State troopers tried to conduct a field sobriety test on Cox and arrested him on suspicion of driving under the influence. They also secured a search warrant and were able to draw Cox’s blood at the scene, according to Broady. The GBI later confirmed that Cox was driving while drunk, Broady said.
During the trial, the jury was presented with testimony from witnesses, first responders and experts, as well as video footage from Ewing’s dashboard camera and security cameras at the gas station.
They deliberated for nearly two days before finding Cox guilty of first-degree homicide by vehicle, failure to yield, open container and tampering with evidence, Broady said. Cox was found not guilty on a felony count of driving under the influence of alcohol.
He spent nearly three months in jail in 2020 before he was released with an ankle monitor on a $100,000 bond.
Ewing’s funeral service took place at Truist Park due to its timing during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“He loved his fellow officers and was truly dedicated to helping others,” the online obituary for the 34-year-old officer said. “Chris always had a smile and a cheerful word for everyone he met. Dedicated, professional, courteous and caring are only a few words that describe Chris Ewing.”