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Fire leads to police chase

Staff Reports

A fire lit in an abandoned Forest Park House Thursday morning set off a series of events including a foot chase, a car wreck injuring a policeman, rerouted traffic and an arrest.

Forest Park Police Officer Bobby Johnson on routine patrol was checking an abandoned house at the corner of Ruskin Road and Ga. Highway 54, behind what was once Bell Auto Parts, when he saw 25-year-old Carlos Plata running from the house and smoke coming from the porch area.

Johnson gave chase and called for assistance. As fellow Officer Randy Gruenewold was responding to the assistance call he collided with another car driven by 33-year-old Arnellia Frazier of East Point at the intersection of Highway 54 and Thurmon Road. The collision forced Gruenewold's car into a pickup truck driven by Ingues Rodriquez, 43, of Newnan.

The accident caused officers to shut down a portion of Highway 54 for about an hour causing traffic to be re-routed through Forest Park.

The drivers were treated and released from Southern Regional Hospital and Johnson was not injured during the foot chase.

The Clayton County Police Department Accident Reconstruction Team is investigating the accident, according to Capt. Chris Matson.

Plata has been booked into the Clayton County Jail on charges of arson, criminal trespass, public drunkenness and obstruction of an officer.

Damage to the house was described as "moderate."