Hall County sheriff fires deputy involved in crash that killed 84-year-old man

A Hall County deputy has been fired after a crash investigation found him responsible for a collision that killed an 84-year-old man. 

Georgia State Patrol said 31-year-old Aaron Matthew Buchanan was driving a Hall County Sheriff's Office car when it crashed into a Gainesville man's Lexus, killing the driver and injuring a passenger. 

Hall County Sheriff Gerald Couch said Buchanan was fired while Georgia State Patrol conducted its investigation. Georgia State Patrol took out warrants against Buchanan for speeding, reckless driving, serious injury by vehicle and vehicular homicide.

The sheriff's office said the crash happened at around 10:30 a.m. on Thursday when Buchanan was off-duty. Driving the marked 2017 Ford Taurus, Georgia State Patrol investigators said he was moving at a high rate of speed south on Dawsonville Highway when a 2006 Lexus LS430, driven by Jon William Jones, crossed the highway after stopping at a sign on Nix Drive. 

The deputy's car collided with the Lexus, injuring Jon Jones and Doris Claudine Jones, the passenger. Jon Jones died from this injures and Doris Jones was being treated for injuries on Friday, Georgia State Patrol said. 

"I extend my sincerest condolences to the family that has suffered the loss of a loved one and the injury of another," said Hall County Sheriff Gerald Couch in a statement. "We are saddened and shocked by the tragic crash that occurred this morning. Our employees are held to a higher standard, and they are entrusted to serve and protect those in this community. While swift action was taken in terminating the deputy, nothing can replace the loss of a loved one. This deputy failed to follow his training and our agency’s long-standing policies and procedures and neglected to obey state law. No one in law enforcement should ever cause the innocent to be harmed and this type of reckless behavior will not be tolerated by anyone."

On Friday, Georgia State Patrol said Buchanan was not yet in custody, although the warrants were filed.

Buchanan had been with the Hall County Sheriff's Office from Sept. 2016 and was a patrol deputy starting in Jan. 4, 2021.