Police on Friday released new details about the death of an Atlanta woman killed Thursday afternoon when a pickup truck escaping gunfire barreled through a busy Gwinnett County intersection and into her car.
Particia Meeks Padgett, 63, died at Winters Chapel Road and Peachtree Industrial Boulevard when her white Volvo was hit by a truck driven by Jonathan Porch, 41, of Braselton, authorities said.
Police said Porch, an unidentified woman and a 5-month old boy were driving in his truck when he got into an altercation with the occupants of a black SUV.
“At some point during the altercation, at least one of the occupants in the SUV produced a gun and shots were fired,” Gwinnett police said. “The driver of the red pickup truck fled the scene and traveled south on the PIB access road. He ran the red light at the intersection and collided with the white sedan.”
Authorities said after the crash, the woman riding in the truck got out and fled the scene on foot. Gwinnett police have not located her and are still not sure who she is, they said Friday. Porch reportedly told police he agreed to give the woman a ride from a nearby location when the altercation started.
The baby in the truck was taken to the hospital with injuries that were not life-threatening and then turned over to the Division of Family and Children Services. It’s unclear if the child belonged to the woman who fled the scene, but police said the baby was not Porch’s.
Porch was arrested and charged with reckless driving, failure to obey a traffic control device, operating a vehicle without a license in his possession and possession of a Schedule IV controlled substance, police said.
Authorities declined to say what drug he had in his possession at the time of the wreck, citing an ongoing investigation. Police are also trying to determine who was in the black SUV at the time the altercation began.
Gwinnett jail records show Porch has been arrested at least seven other times since 1996. His previous charges include drug possession and cocaine trafficking, among other things, records show.
Anyone with information about the case is asked to contact Gwinnett detectives at 770-513-5300 or Crime Stoppers at 404-577-8477. Tips can also be submitted anonymously on the Crime Stoppers website.
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