CLAYTON CO., GA May 16 2017- Three people were killed after a car flipped into a pond during a police chase early Monday, authorities said.
According to Clayton County Fire Chief Laura Richardson, the crash happened Monday morning on Flint River and Taylor Road.
The entire incident started at 4:20 a.m. in a neighboring county. A security guard reported four suspects were robbing a Sprint store at 1415 Highway 85 in Fayette County. When the guard confronted the suspects and advised them to stop, they ignored him and continued to rob the store.
When Fayette Police officers arrived, the suspects had fled the scene.
At 4:27 a.m., Clayton Co. Police were advised that officers from the Fayette County Sheriff's Office were chasing a vehicle with four passengers that was traveling east on Flint River Road.
The vehicle that officers were pursuing collided with another car at the intersection of Flint River Road and Taylor Road. The fleeing car fell and landed upside down in a pond.
At first, police thought they lost the suspects, so they returned to the scene of the crash. That's when they found it submerged in teh pond.
Three people were dead inside.
The fourth occupant of the vehicle was able to escape and tried to flee the scene on foot, but officers captured him and he is now in custody.
When asked how the fourth suspect might have escaped the car, Deputy Chief Joe Woodall of Clayton Co. PD said, "Sheer luck and the hand of God decided that today was not his day."
"As you know, crime doesn't know any boundaries and they don't recognize county or city or state boundaries so we have to work together as a team to enforce the laws and apprehend criminals when we can," Chief Woodall said.
Police identified the victims as 19-year-old Mark Mathis, of Jonesboro, Ga.; 21-year-old Eddie Alford, of Jonesboro, Ga.; and 19-year-old Devongelo Pereez Hunter, of College Park, Ga.
Family members said Mathis had just celebrated a birthday as well as Mother's Day and was getting ready for the birth of his first child later this year.
"It's crazy, it doesn't seem real to me. It feels like a dream," said Mathis' cousin, Tomeka Thornton. "I was hoping this was a dream when I pulled up to my aunt's home and saw everyone there."
Larrita Williams, 22, witnessed the accident and said she heard a loud crash and helicopters overhead and knew something was wrong. Williams says that everyone "knows everyone" and she hopes that she doesn't know any of the victims.
The passenger of the other vehicle has been transported and he is in stable condition.