By Ed Brock
Police say an 17-year-old girl was on "something" when she led officers on a chase that ended in a fatal crash.
Investigators are still trying to identify the girl and the substance she may have been on, Clayton County Police Maj. Tim Robinson said.
Around 5:52 p.m. Monday a Clayton County Police officer saw a Ford F-250 pickup truck stopped in oncoming lanes in the middle of the intersection of Old Dixie Road and Johnson Road, Robinson said.
"The officer thought the driver might be DUI," Robinson said.
The F-250 led officers north on Old Dixie at speeds around 40 mph, Robinson said. Then near the intersection with South Point Drive the driver of the truck "gunned it"
At around 70 mph she slammed into a Dodge Neon that was trying to turn left onto South Point from Old Dixie's southbound lanes. The impact spun the Neon almost completely around and killed the front seat passenger.
Robinson, who did not identify any of the passengers in the Neon, said the rear seat passenger was also badly injured and taken by air ambulance to Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta. The other two people in the car were taken to Grady by regular ambulance.
After the impact with the Neon the truck slammed into a power pole in front of the Sunset Motel where manager John Morley was watching television in his office.
"It was just a bang and then I heard sirens," Morley said.
Morley also saw the officers pull the girl from the wrecked F-250 that, it turned out, had been stolen from a residence in Riverdale on Sunday, Robinson said. There were no indications that the girl had been drinking but "there was another form of impairment," Robinson said.
The girl faces a charge of vehicular homicide and DUI from the Georgia State Patrol as well as fleeing police and a host of traffic charges from Clayton County, Robinson said.
Khalid Hussain, a cashier at the BP gas station across the street from where the pickup hit the pole, said the passengers in the Neon were in his store minutes before the accident. He said they were all Hispanic males.
"One guy bought a candy, one guy bought Gatorade," Hussain said.
Employees of the Waffle House next door to the BP heard a lot of police sirens before hearing and seeing the pickup hit the pole.
"It was really bad. That really got everybody's attention," employee Andrew Underwood said.
Clayton County and Forest Park police closed Old Dixie from the Main Street intersection to Charles W. Grant Parkway while investigators examined the scene. Underwood and the rest of the Waffle House staff were left with an empty restaurant and plenty of time to stare across the street at the flashing blue lights and yellow tape.
"We've been dead ever since that happened," Underwood said.