• 1 dead, 1 arrested after high-speed chase, rollover crash in Monroe County

    By: Asia Simone Burns, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

    Updated:

    A high-speed police chase involving a man who left a Gwinnett County probation work detail ended with a deadly rollover crash in Monroe County, officials said. 

    Sapphire Thomas, 21, of Stone Mountain, died after a vehicle driven by 25-year-old Erick Guillermo Tapia-Algeria rolled over and smashed into other cars and a building. 

    Tapia-Algeria, of Snellville, was wanted on multiple warrants in different counties and now faces more charges in connection with the wreck, officials said.

    Sheriff's office spokeswoman Anna Lewis said Tapia-Algeria had escaped from a Probation Detention Center work detail. Jail records show he has multiple prior arrests in Gwinnett on aggravated assault charges, aggravated stalking charges, a count of cruelty to children and numerous traffic violations. 

    The incident started just before 9 p.m. Saturday when Monroe deputies tried to stop a gray 2016 Dodge Charger for speeding on I-75 southbound, Lewis said. 

    The car did not stop, and deputies started chasing it. 

    The Dodge Charger sped down I-75 south to I-475 south "at high rates of speed," with the deputies still in pursuit, Lewis said. 

    The car exited I-475 at Zebulon Road, re-entered the interstate, and exited again at Eisenhower Parkway, she said. 

    The car turned left toward Bloomfield Road, where the driver lost control. The vehicle rolled over several times and hit two other cars and a building at Madison Apartments, Lewis said. 

     Thomas, who was a passenger in the Dodge Charger, was found unresponsive. She was taken to Navicent Health, where she died. 

    Tapia-Algeria was taken into custody and booked into the Monroe County Jail. 

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