Atlanta officer, armed suspect hit by alleged drunken driver during foot chase

Credit: Atlanta Police Department

Credit: Atlanta Police Department

A police officer chasing an armed man on a southeast Atlanta street was hit by an alleged drunken driver Monday night, authorities said.

Officer Robert Golden and the suspected gunman, identified as Charles Reginald Thomas, were struck and taken to Grady Memorial Hospital, where Golden was stable Tuesday after initially considered to be in critical condition. The driver accused of hitting them, Jason Haynes, was arrested.

Atlanta police Chief Darin Schierbaum pledged the full support of his agency for Golden, who was sworn in with the department in June 2019.

“The Atlanta Police Department will be here, with the family, until he makes a full recovery,” he told Channel 2 Action News from outside the hospital.

According to police, officers were sent to an Exxon gas station in the 3800 block of Jonesboro Road just before midnight after it was reported a man had threatened a woman with a gun. When they arrived, they located a suspect matching the man’s description and tried to speak with him.

Thomas ran into a nearby wooded area, police said, and the officers established a perimeter. They spotted him as he ran into the road.

“Officers pursued the suspect on foot and attempted to detain him as he fled onto a city street with oncoming vehicle traffic,” a police spokesperson said in a statement. “The suspect continued physically resisting arrest against the officer when they were both struck by an oncoming vehicle being driven by what appeared to be an intoxicated male driver.”

Haynes, who was not injured in the crash, is facing charges of DUI less safe, driving too fast for conditions, erratic lane change and two counts of serious injury by vehicle. A black Volkswagen Passat with heavy front-end damage was seen at the scene.

Police said Thomas’ injuries were not considered severe. He is being detained at Grady on charges of obstruction, pedestrian in the roadway and discharging a controlled substance. The arrest is Thomas’ sixth by Atlanta police since April 2006, according to the department.

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