APD officer ‘relieved of duty,’ charged with DUI after crashing patrol SUV

An off-duty Atlanta police officer who crashed his patrol vehicle last week is facing a charge of DUI and has been relieved of his duties, officials said.

Carlos Thomas, a seven-year veteran of the department, is a member of the agency’s Atlanta Proactive Enforcement and Interdiction (APEX) squad. He has been “relieved of duty” and is scheduled to have an emergency meeting with interim Atlanta police Chief Darin Schierbaum, according to a department spokesman.

Georgia State Patrol troopers arrested Thomas before dawn Friday after he crashed his department-issued Ford Explorer into a guardrail, then refused to take a breathalyzer and field sobriety test. The 35-year-old was headed west on Langford Parkway just before 3 a.m. when he veered off the road and crashed into a median near the Downtown Connector, according to a report from the GSP.

A trooper responded to the scene a little more than an hour later as Thomas was being treated by paramedics.

In his report, the trooper noted that Thomas’ eyes were “extremely bloodshot and watery.” When the trooper approached him near an ambulance, Thomas told him to remain a distance from him to preserve his “personal space,” the report stated.

The trooper said Thomas continued to back away from him during their conversation and would not face him as they spoke. He noticed the officer’s speech was slurred and he appeared “very confused” when asked where he was coming from, the report said. Thomas said he was going to pick up his child and told the trooper he was “going through some stuff,” according to the report.

He continued to jerk away and got very agitated when the trooper got close to him, the report indicated. The trooper described him as argumentative and noted that his clothes appeared disheveled and “slept in.”

“If you are going to take me to jail, take me to jail,” Thomas said, according to the report. “I will let my attorney deal with all that.”

The trooper determined Thomas was under the influence and arrested him. He was first taken to Grady Memorial Hospital, then to the police department. The report indicated Thomas was later taken to the Atlanta City Detention Center.

According to his record with the Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) Council, the state regulatory body for law enforcement, Thomas served two years as a jailer at the city detention center before completing the Atlanta police academy in 2018 and joining the force as an officer. He has no prior disciplinary history with POST, his record shows.