A man has been arrested after allegedly stealing a car in Chamblee with a boy inside and then causing a six-vehicle wreck that resulted in one person’s death.
According to news releases from the Georgia State Patrol and the Chamblee Police Department, Aug. 2 at about 4:18 p.m., a man stole another man’s 2007 Ford F-150 truck when the vehicle’s owner went into a store on Buford Highway with the engine running and his son, age 6 or 7, in the backseat.
The suspect, identified as Janathan A. Sanchez, 20, backed up the vehicle and hit another unoccupied car parked in the parking lot and then let the boy out of the truck. The juvenile sustained minor injury to the back of his head from the accident in the parking lot and was transported to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston.
After the crash, the suspect fled the parking lot traveling north on Buford Highway. He ran a red light at the Chamblee Tucker Road intersection, striking a 2010 Honda Civic traveling west on Chamblee Tucker. The collision between the F-150 and the Civic caused a series of impacts with four more vehicles that were stopped southbound on Buford Highway at the intersection.
After the crash, the suspect fled the scene on foot and was arrested about an hour later by Chamblee Police officers. The driver of the Civic, Judith Schonbak, 79, a journalist and artist, died in the crash. One child and two adults were transported to local hospitals with injuries.
The Georgia State Patrol charged Sanchez with first-degree vehicular homicide, murder, failure to obey traffic control devices, speeding and felony hit and run, and the Chamblee Police charged him with kidnapping, cruelty to children in the second degree and theft by taking. Sanchez is in custody in the DeKalb County Jail.