A Georgia grandmother and her two grandchildren on their way to church were killed Sunday when an alleged car thief fleeing from cops ran a stop sign and smashed into their vehicle, cops say.
Dorothy Wright, 75, 12-year-old Cameron Cosner and Layla Partridge, 6, were pronounced dead after they were blindsided by an SUV that had been stolen from a College Park hotel, WGCL reports.
It was the sad culmination of a high-speed chase that stretched 10 miles yet failed to end with the immediate arrest of a suspect.
According to College Park, Georgia police, the male suspect stole the black Chevrolet SUV from the Westin Hotel near Atlanta Airport. He then allegedly fled when police attempted to pull him over.
When the driver fled toward Atlanta, officers reportedly contacted the Atlanta police as well as the Georgia State Patrol.
While the agencies were notified, it was unclear if the state patrol or Atlanta police had joined the chase by the time the suspect allegedly ran a stop sign, T-boning Wright's vehicle.
The suspect fled the scene as police opted to try to aid Wright and her grandson, Cameron. Six-year-old Layla's body was not discovered until hours later, having been ejected from the vehicle and into some nearby bushes.
Cameron's grieving family remember the boy as "brilliant" and a good student. Layla, who was in kindergarten, had recently earned a new belt in Tae Kwon Do.
An email sent to Atlanta police was directed to College Park police and Georgia State Patrol. Messages left for those agencies were not immediately returned Monday morning.
"We value life, and we want to do what we can to protect it,” College Park police chief Keith Meadows told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
While Meadows told WTVM he did not know whether the chase began with a carjacking, he maintained "our policy is to chase forcible felonies."
The district attorney's office has been asked to investigate the police actions.
"We've called in the Fulton County District Attorney’s office along with the Georgia State Patrol," it said. "The GBI has been notified of the incident and we expect our officers to cooperate with the investigation at this point."