A woman was killed in northwest Atlanta on Tuesday morning when the driver of a stolen car ran a red light and slammed into her vehicle, authorities said.
The wreck occurred before 9 a.m. at the intersection of Joseph E. Lowery Boulevard and Donald Lee Hollowell Parkway, according to the Georgia State Patrol.
Video shows the moment a stolen car crashes into a helpless, innocent driver in the middle of a NW Atlanta intersection. Police say the driver was trying to get away from officers. Full story @ 5. pic.twitter.com/4mkOJKMTJT— Matt Johnson (@MattWSB) December 31, 2019
The woman, identified by the Fulton County Medical Examiner’s Office as 55-year-old Travania Allen, was driving a Toyota Corolla when a stolen Dodge Charger ran the red light and T-boned her in the intersection. Allen was taken to Grady Memorial Hospital, where she was pronounced dead, authorities said.
Millie Habtermariam was watching the news when she first heard about the wreck. At the time, she had no idea the crash claimed her sister’s life.
“I was actually on the phone and I said, ‘Oh, my God, that poor family — whoever that person is in that car,’” Habtermariam told Channel 2 Action News. “Wrong place, wrong time, wrong second.”
Allen, she said, was out running a few errands on New Year’s Eve when she was killed.
After the collision, the driver and a passenger got out of the stolen Charger and ran away, police said. Neither suspect has been caught. The car was stolen out of DeKalb County, police said.
The GSP initially said an Atlanta officer chased the stolen car before the crash, but a police spokesman said investigators are still trying to figure that out.
“The driver of the stolen vehicle involved in the fatal crash sped away from a marked patrol car when he noticed it pulling up behind him,” Carlos Campos told AJC.com. “We are conducting an internal investigation, which includes review of available video, to determine if the officer chased the vehicle prior to the crash.”
Most police departments have protocols in place to determine when officers can pursue a vehicle and when it’s best to let them go for the safety of other motorists.
Earlier this month, two men were killed when a stolen Jeep Grand Cherokee being chased by Atlanta police barreled through a red light and slammed into another car at the intersection of Campbellton Road and Lee Street.
In that case, police chased the Jeep because it had been stolen during an armed carjacking, authorities said.
“We don’t chase everyone,” Deputy Chief Jeff Glazier said earlier this month. “We’re very strict on who we allow our officers to chase. In this case, since the vehicle was taken (at) gunpoint — it was a carjacking — we did allow the chase to continue.”
The men killed in that wreck, 43-year-old Mark Hampton and 44-year-old Jermaine Jackson, were neighbors out on an errand to pick up things for their families. Hampton was a father of five picking up medication for his 11-year-old son with disabilities. Jackson had recently moved back in to help is mother, who is battling cancer, their families said.
Police are still searching for the suspects from Tuesday morning’s collision. Habtermariam is asking anyone with information about her sister’s death to come forward.
“It rips your heart out,” she said. “If you know who was in the car, if you recognize the car — if you recognize the people — please tell the police. Let them know. Call the authorities and help them do their job. Help us give our sister a more peaceful rest.”
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