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Driver who killed two in crash is sentenced

Photo by Hugh Osteen

Photo by Hugh Osteen

By Kathy Jefcoats

kjefcoats@news-daily.com

A Fulton County Superior Court judge sentenced a Fayetteville man to 30 years in prison, after he pleaded guilty to killing two women in a 2009 crash he caused while running from police in a stolen vehicle.

The Sept. 9 chase started in Clayton County, when police officers approached a 2010 Chevrolet Silverado impeding traffic on Old National Highway near I-75. The driver, Christian Ree Harris, 26, fled from officers, starting a high-speed chase that ended when Harris hit a Saturn occupied by a woman and her mother returning home from Bible study.

Driver Bonnie Vicks, 57, and her mother, Zannie Hatcher, 73, both of College Park, died in the crash. The Silverado Harris was driving had been reported stolen in Riverdale.

Harris pleaded to five of the 19 Clayton County charges in February 2010. The balance of the charges was dropped. Harris was sentenced in Superior Court to five years and is serving his term at Smith State Prison.

His arrest history in Clayton dates back to 2002 when he was arrested for being a minor in possession of alcohol. Harris was subsequently arrested for theft by taking, being a fugitive, obstruction of an officer, simple assault, disorderly conduct, aggravated assault, theft of services, shoplifting, possession of marijuana, battery, criminal trespass and carrying a concealed weapon.

Fulton County Jail records show Harris had been arrested July 9, 2008, for felony fleeing or attempting to elude officers, hit and run, reckless driving, driving on a suspended license and obstruction of an officer. He was able to post an $8,000 bond the next month and was awaiting disposition of those charges at the time of the September 2009 crash that killed the two women.