What started as an attempted traffic stop late Thursday ended with a 2-county police chase and a crash that killed retired CDC researchers.
The incident began just after 10:35 p.m. Thursday when a Johns Creek police officer spotted a white Ford Crown Victoria that resembled a police car and looked suspicious with its multiple antennas, Johns Creek police Capt. Chris Byers said.
The officer tried to pull over the vehicle, driven by 47-year-old Tennessee resident Larry Thomas, for an equipment violation, Byers said.
Thomas appeared to stop, then accelerated, initiating a 2-minute, 4-mile police chase that reached speeds up to 83 mph before the Crown Victoria collided with a silver Mercedes at the intersection of Peachtree Parkway and Jay Bird Alley in Gwinnett County, authorities said.
The occupants of the Mercedes — 77-year-old Kryzysztof Krawczynski and 78-year-old Elzbieta Gurtler-Krawczynska — were killed, police said. (Police said the couple’s last names are spelled differently on their driver’s license.)
Friends told Channel 2 Action News the husband and wife were active in their church and community.
Thomas and his son were treated at Gwinnett Medical Center before being taken into custody, police said.
Thomas was jailed in the Gwinnett County Detention Center on multiple traffic and drug charges, including two counts of vehicular homicide, driving under the influence, trafficking in methamphetamine and possession of marijuana, cocaine and LSD.
Thomas’ son, 18-year-old Jesse Thomas, who was a passenger in the fleeing vehicle, was booked on multiple drugs and weapons charges and also jailed.
William Goins, the officer driving during the chase, has been with the Johns Creek Police Department since 2010, police said.
The department is conducting an investigation to ensure all protocol and policies were followed in the chase. Goins will remain employed with the police department during that time.