Senior Police Officer Gail Thomas
Atlanta Police Department, Georgia
End of Watch: Tuesday, January 24, 2012
Tour of Duty: 15 years
Badge Number: Not available
Cause of Death: Vehicular assault
Date of Incident: January 24, 2012
Weapon Used: Automobile; Alcohol involved
Suspect Info: Charged with vehicular homicide
Agency Contact Information
Chief George Turner
Atlanta Police Department
226 Peachtree Street SW
Atlanta, GA 30303
Phone: (404) 614-6544
Senior Police Officer Gail Thomas was struck and killed by a suspected drunk driver while assisting other officers with a traffic incident on the exit ramp from southbound I-75 to northbound I-85.
She had just exited her vehicle when she was struck. The drunk driver was arrested and charged with vehicular homicide, DUI, and reckless driving.
Officer Thomas had served with the Atlanta Police Department for 15 years.
Police have identified the officer who was killed by an alleged drunk driver Tuesday night near the Downtown Connector.
Senior Police Officer Gail D. Thomas, 46, was helping another officer when she was killed., Atlanta police spokesman Mr. Carlos Campos said.
A Zone 5 officer arrived at 11 p.m. to handle a single car accident on the ramp to I-85 north from I-75 south.
The officer called for additional units to assist with traffic control while the investigation was conducted.
Officer Thomas was the second officer to arrive. Shortly after exiting her vehicle, she was struck by an oncoming vehicle, Mr. Campos said.
Officer Thomas had just started her watch when she was killed.
Police have charged the driver, Ms. Chasity Jones, of Stone Mountain, with first-degree vehicular homicide, driving under the influence and reckless driving, Mr. Campos said.The 22-year-old blew a .16 on the scene and refused consent for a state administered blood alcohol reading, Mr. Campos said.
However, a search warrant was obtained and blood was retrieved at Grady Memorial Hospital, he said.
Ms. Jones is expected to have her first court appearance Thursday morning.
Meanwhile, the department mourns the loss of one of their own.
Officer Katie Riester, who lowered the flag outside the police headquarters to half-staff Wednesday morning, remembered her fallen colleague as a “great police officer” who “loved policing.”
“She will be so missed by everyone here,” Officer Riester told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
“She was such a sweet person,” Officer Riester said. “Her smile was just infectious; she could just brighten up a room.”
Former Atlanta police Major John Woodard, who once supervised Officer Thomas, agreed. He told the AJC in an e-mail that the officer "always had a smile on her face."
"Gail was one of the nicest people that you would ever want to meet," Maj. Woodard said. "Her death will leave a hole in the hearts of those who knew her."
Officer Thomas had been a city employee for 20 years, 15 of which she served as a police officer.
“I am deeply saddened that one of our police officers lost her life in the line of duty last night,” Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed said. “Senior Police Officer Thomas was a veteran police officer whose sense of duty and commitment to public safety inspired many of her fellow officers. The City of Atlanta is quiet as we mourn this terrible loss. My thoughts and prayers are with her family and colleagues during this difficult time.”
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