A veteran Atlanta police officer was struck and killed by a drunk driver on Tuesday, while helping a motorist on an interstate ramp. The 22-year-old motorist suspected of driving the vehicle appeared in court, but was denied bond on Thursday.
Senior Police Officer Gail Thomas, who had 15 years on the job, was assisting another officer with a traffic accident on the Brookwood Interchange ramp. She had just gotten out of her patrol car when she was struck by 22-year-old Chastity Jones of Stone Mountain, reported the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The 46-year-old officer was pronounced dead at the scene.
The freeway was shut down for about three hours as police conducted their investigation.
As you can imagine, here are a lot of very raw nerves and emotions, Chief George Turner said, according to the newspaper. We are very concerned about the family, and also about our family. We encourage our officers to depend on each other and to seek out help.
Jones allegedly blew a .16 on a breathalyzer exam, twice the legal limit. She was arrested at the scene and is being charged with first-degree vehicular homicide, DUI and reckless driving.
The Fulton County District Attorney's office said that Jones had been cited six time for traffic violations in the past five years. She will remain in Fulton County jail for the next two weeks after a magistrate judge refused to grant bond at her first court appearance on the Thursday, reported the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
This is Jones' first arrest. She said nothing in the court, but repeatedly turned to her mother.
Mayor Kasim Reed released a statement regarding the Thomas on Wednesday.
I am deeply saddened that one of our police officers lost her life in the line of duty last night, Reed said in the statement. Senior Police Officer Thomas was a veteran police officer whose sense of duty and commitment to public safety inspired many of her fellow officers. The city of Atlanta is quiet as we mourn this terrible loss. My thoughts and prayers are with her family and colleagues during this difficult time.