A Decatur woman is in the custody of the Rockdale County Sheriff's Office after leading a deputy on a fatal car chase Thursday night.
The car chase, which lasted less than ten minutes, resulted in a five-vehicle collision that caused the death of 52-year-old Yuwadee Theerakanok, a female Jonesboro resident, and caused three other people, including one RCSO deputy, to be transported to the hospital.
The suspect, 39-year-old Kidistz Temesgen, received no injuries. Alcohol is suspected as a contributing factor in the crash, according to the Georgia State Patrol Public Information Office. Charges are pending the completion of an investigation.
Around 10 p.m. Thursday, Temesgen allegedly hit two vehicles at the Texaco gas station by the intersection of Sigman Road and Old Covington Highway, according to RCSO Corp. Michael Camp.
She was allegedly fled the scene, heading east on Sigman Road in her silver 2004 Hyundai Santa Fe. She caused off-duty Deputy Kevin Brumbaugh, who was on his way to begin his night shift, to "jerk his vehicle into a ditch" to avoid a head-on collision with Temesgen, who was driving in the wrong lane.
Brumbaugh then turned his patrol lights on and proceeded to give chase to Temesgen, who eventually stopped near the intersection of Sigman Road and Rockbridge Road. But when he got out of his vehicle to approach the suspect, she made a U-turn and proceed back down Sigman Road, said Camp.
Again, Brumbaugh pursued Temesgen, who was driving nearly 95-mph according to his estimates, westbound on Sigman. The speed limit down Sigman Road is 45-mph.
As the suspect drove over the railroad tracks, which is just a few feet away from the Rockdale County Sheriff's Office headquarters and jail, she was going at such a high speed that she "caught a little bit of air" and slammed into the back of a 2013 Kia Optima that was stopped at a red light at the intersection of Sigman Road and Old Covington Highway.
"That caused a chain reaction of car collisions," said Camp.
Therrankanok was driving the Optima that was in the westbound left lane. Her passenger, 52-year-old Somphone Vongvilay of Jonesboro, was injured and airlifted to Grady Hospital.
According to the GSP, the preliminary indication is that the impact from the Santa Fe on the Optima caused the Optima to strike a 2004 white Chevrolet Silverado, which was in the westbound left turning lane of Sigman Road and stopped at a traffic light waiting to turn south onto Old Covington Highway. The Optima also hit a stationary deputy's car facing south on Old Covington Highway in the south bound lane.
The driver of the Silverado, 33-year-old Conyers resident Melissa Anderson, was injured and transported to Rockdale Medical Center. Her husband and children were in a separate car at the scene that was not struck.
Deputy Joshua Reynolds, 28, was injured and transported to Rockdale Medical Center as well.
The Santa Fe also struck a stationary patrol vehicle that was facing east and blocking off Old Covington in the south bound left turn lane. Deputy Robert Cooley, 34, was not injured.
There was one additional deputy vehicle at the scene but wasn't involved in the collision, according to Camp.
"They were hearing everything that was coming over the dispatch about the chase, so they were waiting at the intersection for them," Camp said about the deputies. "Really, they were trying to keep the intersection open just in case she tried to drive around the cars in her way."
Temesgen is currently being held in the Rockdale County Jail.
She's facing of charges of homicide by vehicle in the first degree, felony fleeing and attempting to elude police, reckless driving, leaving the scene of accident, following too closely, failure to maintain lane, and causing serious injury by vehicle.
More charges could be added pending the ongoing investigation by the GSP.