Atlanta officer hit by suspected drunk driver during foot pursuit
As police pursued a suspect on foot for allegedly brandishing a gun at a gas station, both the officer and the fleeing suspect were struck by an alleged drunk driver
By Chelsea Prince
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
ATLANTA — A police officer chasing an armed man on a southeast Atlanta street was hit by an alleged drunk driver Monday night, authorities said.
Both the officer and the gunman were struck and taken to Grady Memorial Hospital, where the officer is stable Tuesday after initially considered to be in critical condition. The driver accused of hitting them was arrested.
Atlanta police Chief Darin Schierbaum pledged the full support of his agency for the officer, whom he said was protecting his community when he was injured.
“The Atlanta Police Department will be here, with the family, until he makes a full recovery,” he told Channel 2 Action News from outside the hospital.
According to police, officers were sent to an Exxon gas station in the 3800 block of Jonesboro Road just before midnight after it was reported a man had threatened a woman with a gun. When they arrived, they located a suspect matching the man’s description and tried to speak with him.
The man rain into a nearby wooded area, police said, and the officers established a perimeter. They spotted him as he ran into the road.
“Officers pursued the suspect on foot and attempted to detain him as he fled onto a city street with oncoming vehicle traffic,” a police spokesperson said in a statement. “The suspect continued physically resisting arrest against the officer when they were both struck by an oncoming vehicle being driven by what appeared to be an intoxicated male driver.”
The driver, whose name was not released, was not reported injured. A black Volkswagen with heavy front-end damage was seen at the scene.
Police identified the armed suspect as 36-year-old Charles Reginald Thomas and said his injuries were not considered severe. He is being detained at Grady on charges of obstruction, pedestrian in the roadway and discharging a controlled substance.
The arrest is his sixth by Atlanta police since April 2006, according to the police department.
The name of the injured officer was not released. Atlanta police did not disclose further information about the DUI arrest as it is being investigated by the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office.
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