After a trip to Michigan with relatives, a young Florida father was heading home to see his own family: a wife and two boys. But the 28-year-old never made it.
Instead, another driver with a lengthy criminal record led state troopers on a high-speed chase in downtown Atlanta, according to police. The chase ended when Kahre Jamal Williams slammed into two cars on the Downtown Connector, killing a Florida man and injuring six others, and again tried to run. He was caught by troopers.
Juan Gispert, known as Tito to those closest to him, died from his injuries after the wreck early Saturday. His parents, younger brother and an aunt were also injured, along with two people in another car, according to the Georgia State Patrol.
“He was a great father. An entrepreneur. businessman,” Gispert’s nephew, Anthony Gispert, told a South Florida news station. “Very, very loved by the community and everyone in this area.”
Investigators believe Williams was under the influence, though he refused a blood test. He was not injured in the crash. When troopers caught him, he was arrested and charged with murder and numerous other charges and was denied bond Monday morning. He has a lengthy criminal past, including four stints in state prison, according to the Georgia Department of Corrections.
The chase began about 3:30 a.m. Saturday when a Georgia State Patrol trooper traveling south on Spring Street noticed a black Dodge Challenger driving toward them on a one-way street, police said. The trooper tried to stop the driver — later identified as Williams — who made a U-turn and sped away before getting on the Downtown Connector.
In surveillance video, the Challenger speeds down the street and through an intersection, followed by a patrol car, as dozens of people outside a popular cigar bar across the street look on, Channel 2 Action News reported.
“The Challenger continued south on Spring Street at a high rate of speed, exiting onto I-75/85 South,” the GSP said in an emailed statement.
The chase ended when Williams hit a silver Nissan Altima and a red Ford Expedition. He then attempted to run from the crash scene, but was caught, according to police.
The Expedition had one driver and four passengers, some of whom were ejected, according to police. Gispert, the passenger in the front seat of the SUV, died from his injuries at Grady Memorial Hospital, while the driver and another passenger were taken to Atlanta Medical Center for treatment.
An online fundraising page was created to assist Gispert’s wife and two son, ages 2 and 7 months.
“Prayers for strength and healing to the entire Gispert Family,” one person posted. “We lost a good one.”
State troopers identified the injured victims from the Expedition as Maria Gispert, Juan Gispert de Armas, 64, Angel Gispert, 25, and Kimberly Bennett, 49.
Two people in the Altima, identified as 58-year-old Lara Artis and 59-year-old Charles Sibley, were also injured, authorities said. Both are from metro Atlanta. The conditions of the injured have not been released.
In addition to felony murder, Williams is charged with first-degree vehicular homicide, five counts of serious injury, hit-and-run, obstruction, reckless driving, wrong-way driving and failure to obey traffic signs, according to jail records.
Williams was booked into the Fulton County Jail on Saturday. He waived his first appearance hearing Monday morning and was denied bond, according to the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office. His next court appearance is scheduled for May 6.
Fulton jail records show Williams has been arrested at least 13 times since 2003, mostly on drug possession and traffic-related charges. He has also served four times in state prison since 2004 for drug and firearm convictions in Clayton and Gwinnett counties.
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