South Fulton County

Driver accused of killing grandmother, 2 children went on the run for 6 years. He’s now on trial

COLLEGE PARK, Ga. — The trial has started for a teenager accused of killing a grandmother and her two grandchildren on their way to church.

Investigators say the suspect, Diontre Tigner, was 16 years old at the time of the crash on Jan. 31, 2016. He’s now 24.

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Police say Tigner carjacked a female limo driver at 9 a.m. that day in front of The Westin Hotel in College Park. They say he led police on a high-speed chase through several residential neighborhoods before he crashed into the family’s car.

Channel 2′s Tyisha Fernandes was the only reporter in the courtroom Wednesday when several witnesses took the stand.

Joi Partridge was one of the state’s best witnesses. She’s the daughter of the victim, driver Dorothy Wright, and the mother of the two children who died, 12-year-old Cameron and 6-year-old Layla.

“She would take them to church every Sunday, as she was doing on that Sunday morning,” said Partridge.

She told the jury how close she was to her mom, Dorothy Wright, and how much her mom would help watch her kids while Joi had to work.

On Jan. 31, 2016, Dorothy never made it to church because police say Tigner crashed into her car.

“We had a wonderful relationship. She was there for me, caring, giving. She was a school teacher for 30-something years in the Atlanta public school system,” said Partridge.


Partridge has waited eight years to testify in the murder trial for Tigner.

Somehow Tigner was the only survivor of the crash, and he got away from the scene. He was on the run for six years before College Park police arrested him and charged him with six counts of felony murder and three counts of hit and run.

When a Georgia State Trooper investigated the crash scene and the stolen SUV, he said he could tell exactly how Tigner was driving.

“There’s significant throttle and braking. If you look at 2.5 seconds out, the throttle was at 99% - so a lot of speeding up and slowing down…at one point in time we got 96% on the throttle, that’s pretty much as much as it’ll go. You’re trying to make this vehicle go as fast as possible,” said Sgt. Terrance Wright.

The trial continues on Thursday.

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