Stoudenmire was reprimanded and suspended after the wreck.
Then, three years after the wreck, Stoudenmire was arrested on a drunken driving charge while he was off duty. The Police Department allowed him to resign in lieu of termination.
“The county employee’s conduct in this case was not good, and the jury said so with its verdict,” Jackson said.
Attorney Michael O'Quinn, who defended the county, said he will appeal. The jury never got to hear that Sargent's blood alcohol level was 0.192 -- more than twice the legal limit of .08 -- because State Court Judge Carla Brown ruled last week that the evidence could not be admitted during the civil trial.
"It's a hard lick to take when you feel like not everything was out there for the jury to consider," O'Quinn said.
O'Quinn said he will also appeal the judge's pretrial ruling regarding the cap on verdicts. He had argued that Georgia law at the time of the accident put a $100,000 cap on verdicts against counties based upon the concept of sovereign immunity, which shields governments from liability.
O'Quinn said Gwinnett is not insured. The county has an auto-liabilty fund to pay lawsuits. The county, however, won't have to pay Sargent's widow until the appeal is settled.
Faustina Sargent was not available for comment Thursday. The widow told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution last week that she struggles with feelings of loss every day.
"I don't believe there is such thing as closure," Sargent said. "You have to try hard to put it behind you and move on."