Driver in deadly Taco Bell crash found not guilty by reason of insanity

Local News

A man who drove into a Swainsboro Taco Bell in Sept. 2017, killing a 23-year-old and injuring 7 others, has been found not guilty by reason of insanity.

Oliver Cope, who was 18 at the time, was diagnosed with severe, manic Bipolar Disorder with psychotic features shortly after the crash. A psychiatrist said he was experiencing auditory hallucinations and delusions during the incident.

Cope has also undergone three forensic psychiatric evaluations in which all doctors found he was mentally ill at the time of the crash.

Two doctors said Cope was suffering from symptoms of psychosis leading up to the crash. They said Cope believe his suicide attempt would save others.

READ: Court order on Oliver Cope

Cope was arrested and indicted for two counts of felony murder from the death of Macy Mullis as well as one count of criminal damage to property and eight counts of aggravated assault.

He pleaded guilty by reason of insanity to the charges earlier this year.

Cope has since been held at a medical center in Statesboro, instead of jail, to receive proper treatment.

The court this week found Cope guilty by reason of insanity. The court found he lacked the mental capacity to distinguish between right and wrong and he was acting under “delusional compulsion” at the time of the crash.

The court can hold him for up to 30 days as he is evaluated. The Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities will recommend if he meets the criteria for inpatient commitment.

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