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Woman gets 10 years in prison for traffic stop assault

POSTED: May 14, 2014 12:51 a.m.

After permanently losing some of her ability to move freely, a Gainesville woman shot by police asked for mercy at sentencing.

“There is still talk of amputation,” of a leg, Tracey Marie Dean’s Gainesville attorney Greg Valpey said.

But a Hall County Superior Court judge said Dean posed too great a risk to herself and society to go easy. She was sentenced on Tuesday to 20 years, 10 to serve in prison, after pleading guilty to felony obstruction in a botched attempt to elude a traffic stop.

Dean, also listed in records as Tracey Seidel, by entering the negotiated plea had the most serious violent felony charge of aggravated assault reduced to obstruction.

Dean was indicted on two counts of aggravated assault on a peace officer; two counts of felony obstruction; two counts of interference with government property; felony possession of cocaine; and 14 misdemeanors, including possession of a drug-related object, driving under the influence and battery.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation looked into the incident at Skelton and Bowman roads in Gainesville, which began Aug. 20, when Dean eluded a traffic stop, hit the officers and their vehicles with her car, and ended with Bryan Woods and Peter Bartholomew firing shots at her, police said.

Hall County District Attorney Lee Darragh had stated in September that his office would not pursue charges against the officers.

Dean entered her plea with her attorney by her side. She had retained Valpey in recent weeks after previously being represented by a public defender. Her case had been set for a May 19 trial after prior rejections of a plea offer.

Valpey requested that Dean serve five years in prison and five on house arrest and said Dean was permanently crippled in the shooting and may require a great deal more care if her leg is amputated. He patted her softly on the back as she shook and wept during the hearing.

Judge Jason Deal said while he understood Valpey’s argument regarding the consequences Dean already has borne from the incident, he could not ignore her prior felony convictions.

“What she did was place herself at serious risk and the officers at serious risk,” he said. “She brought that on herself and what she did was extremely dangerous.”

She faced a one-year minimum sentence of probation and 20-year maximum term of incarceration.

Deal lamented that he recognized Dean as a former drug court participant, recalling she was a dancer.

“If anybody doesn’t believe that tragedy doesn’t come from drug abuse, they need to come see this case,” he said. “You have ruined your life ... and I’ve just about run out of options.”

“I don’t know any other way to keep you safe and society safe. I’ve used every tool in the toolbox except the hammer.”

He said, based on the video footage of the incident played at her probation revocation hearing, reducing the aggravated assault charge was appropriate.

“I don’t think you had in your mind, ‘I’m going to hurt these officers,’” Deal said. “I think (you) wanted to book it out of there.”

Dean, who is being held at the Hall County Jail, was also ordered to pay reparations to the police department for the damaged patrol cars.


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