Iain MacGowan (Credit: DeKalb County Police Department)

DeKalb cop charged in crash that killed jogger

A DeKalb County police officer accused of hitting and killing a jogger while on the way to a call has been arrested and charged with vehicular homicide, the DeKalb police chief said at a news conference Monday afternoon. 

Officer Iain MacGowan had been on administrative leave since the July 25 crash that killed Janet Pickney, who was running in a crosswalk, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution previously reported. MacGowan also faces reckless driving, speeding and failure to maintain lane charges. He was booked in the DeKalb County jail and released on a signature bond. 

DeKalb police Chief James Conroy said the department has started the termination process for MacGowan, who had been with the DeKalb PD for four years. 

MORE: Retired teacher, avid runner dies after being hit by police car while jogging

“As officers, we do have an obligation to uphold the law and follow the law,” Conroy said at the news conference. “Safe driving is very important to us as a police department. We dedicate a lot of time to make sure officers are safe when they drive.”


Janet Pickney was hit by a DeKalb County police car July 25 and died that night. (Credit: Channel 2 Action News)

Conroy said DeKalb officers undergo 26 weeks of training in the academy before they are allowed on the roads. Thirteen weeks is the required amount for Georgia officers, he said. 

McGowan was headed to a call about a traffic hazard when he swerved to avoid a turning car at the intersection of Brown and Chamblee-Tucker roads and struck Pickney, a retired teacher who was active in her church.

The car left the road and hit a house. MacGowan was treated and released at a hospital the same day. 

Conroy declined to say how fast MacGowan was traveling, but he stated the speed limit on the road was 40 mph. MacGowan did not use his lights or siren on the call, which Conroy said was in compliance with department policy. 

Conroy said MacGowan’s police record included just one other crash, but he did not go into specifics. 

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ALSO: DeKalb officer whose car struck, killed jogger is out of hospital, on leave

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