Man arrested in 2016 crash that killed grandmother, 2 kids on way to church

Credit: Fulton County Sheriff's Office

Credit: Fulton County Sheriff's Office

It was a Sunday morning in 2016 when Joi Partridge lost her mother and two children after a man plowed into their car during a police chase through Atlanta.

It wasn’t until late December that the man believed to be responsible was taken into custody, College Park police said Monday. Diontre Kentrell Tigner faces a slew of charges related to the incident, including six counts of felony murder and three counts of hit-and-run. He was arrested Dec. 23 after being identified as the suspect.

Dorothy Wright, 75, and her two grandchildren, Cameron Costner, 12, and Layla Partridge, 6, were heading to First St. Peter AME Church that morning, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution previously reported.

Explore‘I have nothing’: Family of grandma, kids killed in police chase speaks

The January crash unfolded after College Park police responded to a stolen vehicle call at the Westin Atlanta Airport hotel. Tigner and the stolen Chevrolet Suburban were still at the location, but he fled once spotting officers, police said at the time. Authorities said they pursued the vehicle for about 10 miles into southwest Atlanta.

At some point, officers lost contact with the vehicle on a residential street near the historic Westview Cemetery, then found it again at Rogers Avenue and South Gordon Street. The SUV sped through a stop sign and crashed into a Buick LeSabre driven by Wright.

The children were ejected. For hours, authorities did not know Layla had been in the car, the AJC reported. It was after Partridge was told by officers of the tragedy that she asked about her daughter. The girl’s body was found a short distance from the crash scene hidden within shrubs.

ExploreFamily sues College Park police after fatal crash

The fatal crash led the family to hire an attorney and sue the city of College Park a few months later, alleging the police department acted outside its chase policy when it decided to pursue Tigner.

According to the lawsuit, the three officers who initiated the pursuit were reprimanded for other chase instances and traffic issues dating back nearly 10 years. It also says on the morning of the crash that officers were driving more than double the speed limit, including going 74 mph in a 30 mph zone.

The Atlanta Police Department was eventually added to the lawsuit, alleging officers violated policy. Dashcam footage released at the time showed officers allowed Tigner to back up and turn around instead of boxing him in, something Wright’s loved ones said could have prevented the chase from killing her and her grandchildren.

The AJC has reached out to the family for a statement and update on the lawsuit.