A man has been accused of murder, DUI and other charges nearly two weeks after a former member of the National Guard was killed when she was ejected from a car during a chase involving Atlanta police and the Georgia State Patrol.
Jaron Hester, 30, of Tifton, was booked into the DeKalb County Jail on Friday morning in connection with the Sept. 2 wreck that killed Jazmin Jeanty, 25, of Riverdale, according to police.
An Atlanta officer tried to pull over Hester on the southbound Downtown Connector at 17th Street, GSP spokeswoman Franka Young previously told AJC.com. But according to officials, Hester did not stop his 2010 Nissan Maxima, leading the officer on a chase. The officer requested assistance from the GSP.
During the chase, Jeanty called her mother, who heard her daughter beg Hester to stop the car, according to Sintera Graham, Jeanty’s godmother.
“She’s screaming, ‘Just stop. Let me out of the car. Let me out of the car,’” Graham told Channel 2.
Hester tried to exit I-85 at North Druid Hills Road. But he couldn’t handle the curve and the car crashed through a guardrail, went down an embankment and wound up on its roof, according to the GSP. Hester was driving more than 100 mph in a 55-mile zone, the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office said.
Jeanty’s mother stayed on the phone with her daughter — who was a member of the National Guard before a medical issue forced her to leave — until the end.
“All of a sudden, the phone, it was just silence,” Graham said.
Jeanty died on the scene. She was not wearing a seat belt, according to a GSP crash report.
The report did not specify if Hester and passenger Alivia Stiggers, 26, of Union City, had on seat belts. Both were taken to Grady Memorial Hospital after the crash. Stiggers’ condition was not known Friday.
In addition to murder and DUI, Hester faces charges of false imprisonment, reckless driving and fleeing or eluding police.
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