The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
An Atlanta officer was wrapping up a traffic stop early Saturday morning when a man bolted into his patrol car and took it for a spin before crashing along train tracks. Officers worked frantically to pull him from the car just seconds before an oncoming train hits the vehicle.
The suspect jumped into the patrol vehicle near the Greenbriar mall in southwest Atlanta around 2 a.m., police said in a statement.
“Yo! Back off! Get out of the car,” body camera footage shows the officer yelling at the suspect, later identified as 29-year-old Mickal Parker.
“Someone just got in my patrol car,” the officer notifies dispatch over the radio as he runs after the vehicle to relay in which direction it went.
The Atlanta Police Department’s Air Unit, which was already patrolling at the time, was alerted. They quickly located the vehicle and directed officers on the ground who were following at a safe distance, according to the department.
The stolen police vehicle zoomed east down city highways with its emergency lights turned on, video from the department’s aerial unit shows. Parker made it about eight miles before he lost control of the vehicle at the intersection of McDonough Boulevard and Hank Aaron Drive in the Peoplestown neighborhood of southeast Atlanta, police said.
The vehicle had overturned onto its side and came to a rest between nearby train tracks with its tires partially on one of the tracks, video shows.
Responding officers quickly worked to remove Parker from the patrol car’s broken front window as an incoming train’s horn is heard in the distance and rapidly approaching. They were able to get him out mere seconds before the train strikes the bottom of the vehicle.
“Good job, officers. Everybody’s safe. They just saved that man’s life,” an officer radioed from the air unit.
Parker was taken to the Fulton County jail, where he faces multiple charges, including theft by taking, reckless driving, obstruction, damage to city property, and fleeing and eluding,
“The officers involved were quickly able to transition from traffic enforcement to stolen vehicle recovery and then transition again to preservation of life,” the department said in a statement. “We are proud of the efforts of the units on the ground as well as in the air, as they all worked to safely conclude an incident that could have ended in death or serious bodily harm.”
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