A 29-year-old Atlanta man who stole a police car during a routine traffic stop, leading authorities on a high-speed chase, reportedly crashed his vehicle on train tracks with an oncoming train.
The officers quickly switched from crime stoppers to rescue mode, after pulling the man from the car seconds before the oncoming train arrived.
Following the incident, Mickal Parker was rushed to Atlanta’s Grady Hospital to be treated for minor injuries; then he was arrested.
“Good job officers, glad everybody’s safe. They just saved that man’s life. For sure,” an APD pilot said over the radio minutes after the crash.
The incident occurred early Saturday morning a little past 2 a.m., according to WAGA-TV FOX 5 Atlanta News. Parker jumped into a police car after an officer pulled over another motorist for a routine traffic stop near Greenbriar Parkway in Southwest Atlanta. It is reported by police officials that Parker was not involved in the initial traffic stop. He hopped into the vehicle after he noticed the officer’s back was turned while he was talking to the driver of the vehicle he stopped.
“Yo! Back up! Get out of the car!” shouted the officer in the camera footage. “Someone just got in my patrol car.”
Parker reportedly sped off in the police cruiser on Atlanta’s Highway 166 East which leads to the city’s downtown connector. The officer quickly notified dispatchers, and a local air unit spotted the stolen vehicle.
“The officer immediately got on his radio and gave the lookout direction of travel,” said Atlanta Police Sgt. John Chaffee. Georgia State Patrol and other local police agencies joined the chase.
The suspect took police on an eight-mile chase before losing control of the vehicle at the intersection of McDonough Boulevard and Hank Aaron Drive. He flipped over the vehicle, and it landed upside down on the train tracks of an oncoming train.
Parker was then trapped inside the vehicle that partially blocked the train tracks. The train horns rang out loudly to desperately alert the officers that the train was quickly approaching. Atlanta Police Department officers and Georgia State Patrol troopers quickly sprung into action to pull him out of the vehicle just seconds before the oncoming train struck the car.
“We’re very proud of the actions of the officers; this could’ve gone a number of different ways,” Chaffee said in a statement released to the media. “It could’ve ended with this person being severely injured by this train; it didn’t look like he was able to get out on his own.”
Parker is being charged with theft by taking, fleeing and eluding, reckless driving, obstruction and damage to city property. He is currently booked and being held at the Fulton County Jail.