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Update: Woman Pleads Guilty in DUI Crash that Killed Officer Thomas

Stone Mountain's Chasity Jones was indicted on thirteen counts, including DUI and homicide by vehicle in the first degree, in the January 2012 incident that claimed the life of Atlanta Police Senior Officer Gail Thomas of Austell.

Update: 1/11/13 @ 2 p.m.:

Chasity Nicole Jones entered a guilty plea Friday in Fulton County Superior Court to one count of vehicular manslaughter and one count of failure to obey the directions of an officer in the January 2012 death of Atlanta Police Senior Officer Gail Thomas.

A sobbing Jones apologized to the Thomas family, specifically the fallen officer's father and daughter, whom the 23-year-old Jones noted is the same age as she. Tears were streaming throughout the crowded courtroom, including down the cheeks of some of the many, many law enforcement personnel in attendance.

Remarked Judge Craig Schwall, “It’s a paramount concern to society that our law enforcement officers be treated with the highest honor and dignity and respect and gratitude. …The sentencing range is 3-16 years. I don’t think 16 years is enough. If I had a choice it would be more than 16 years. And so based on what has occurred, I can’t go along with anything but the maximum."

Jones is now facing 16 years in prison. For complete post-trial coverage, see here.

Original story:

The Stone Mountain woman charged with driving drunk and killing Atlanta Police Senior Officer Gail Thomas in a January 2012 crash is expected to appear in Fulton County Superior Court on Friday.

Chasity Nicole Jones, 23, was indicted last year on thirteen counts, including driving under the influence of alcohol and homicide by vehicle in the first degree, in the Jan. 24, 2012 incident that claimed the life of Thomas, who was attempting to divert traffic away from a previous crash on Interstate 75/85 southbound at the Brookwood Interchange when she was struck by a Honda Civic driven by Jones.

At the scene of the tragic accident, Jones blew a .16, which is twice the Georgia legal limit, and refused consent for a state administered blood alcohol reading.

A source close to the trial has told Patch that Jones is expected to ask the court for mercy in the no jury trial. The State of Georgia is asking for 15 years to serve in prison for killing Austell's Thomas, who was well known in the Midtown and APD Zone 5 coverage area.

Thomas was 46 years old and a sworn police officer for 15 years when she died on the scene. 

“Senior Police Officer Thomas was a veteran police officer whose sense of duty and commitment to public safety inspired many of her fellow officers,” said Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed last January.

Less than a week after the accident, hundreds of mourners, including a sea of blue-uniformed police officers from APD and other police jurisdictions, gathered at Elizabeth Baptist Church in Cascade Heights to pay their final respects to Thomas.

"I challenge you though as you sit here today, do not mourn for Gail Thomas, because Gail is all right," Maj. Christopher Leighty, then APD's Zone 5 commander and Thomas' former boss at Zone 3, told the congregation." Mourn for our loss and the fact that world is a little less bright because of the loss of her physical presence in our life. We may not see her but she will forever be in our hearts and in our actions."

But wait, January 11, 2013 at 12:56 PM
white trash. ask for mercy? let me guess... she probably has a few kids and no husband. don't embarrass yourself any further - take the punishment you deserve.
Chris Mueller January 11, 2013 at 01:28 PM
Tragic for Officer Thomas and her family. But I don't see how taking away 15 years of someone's life will do anyone any good. Can't we find creative and not so punitive solutions for Ms. Jones to atone for accidentally killing the officer? Maybe 1-2 year prison and 15 years of mandated community service? Ruining yet another life is mere vengeance. Can't we find some way to create something positive out of this?
JM Hurricane January 11, 2013 at 04:10 PM
Sad story all the way around. The main reason I've been living intown in cities for the last 15 years, the boozetown shuffle. I actually party less. Knowing there are 20+ places to load up within walking distance takes the urge away. Whereas, if you're driving from a distance the pressure to party like it's 1999 is much stronger. IMHO.
ROCKY January 11, 2013 at 07:48 PM
Chasity Jones should get five years just like Crista Scott got for doing the same thing in down town Atlanta a few years ago. All life is equal,, including police officers..
Dookie Doo January 11, 2013 at 07:52 PM
The positive thing is that she may be able to get high on drugs smuggled into prison but she won't kill anybody with her car. At least not for the next 15 years. If we go with your plan, we run the risk of her doing this again within 2 years. I say we stick with the first plan.
jimmie January 11, 2013 at 07:54 PM
And you Jean are a racist idiot
Richard "the Equalizer" Pellegrino January 11, 2013 at 08:05 PM
I totally agree Chris...but also make sure this principle applies across the board, regardless of skin color, as it is an undisputed fact that people of color receive harsher sentences than others.
AtlMom January 11, 2013 at 08:08 PM
Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.
Dookie Doo January 11, 2013 at 09:44 PM
She got off too easy. That's why we have such a crime problem here. People think that since they get a slap on the wrist for small crimes like DUI, they decide to push the envelope and do bigger crimes like robbery to see if they get another slap. Hell, if I got as many chances as these people do, I would rape all the hot chicks I see walking around this city. Luckily, I didn't get off so easy when I was younger. You all should be thankful.
Dookie Doo January 11, 2013 at 09:48 PM
@Richard Take it from me, you don't want to let criminals get off easy. I learned my lesson the hard way. But if I got off as easy back then as they do today, there would be a lot more victims walking the streets of Atlanta. You wouldn't be able to stop me from having my way with what ever the hell I want. You have the Texas penal system for reforming me and saving you.
Peach January 11, 2013 at 10:47 PM
She should be sentenced to the max, and have to serve it all. No release for good behavior. It's easy to behave when you're not guzzling your daily drink!
Whitese7en January 11, 2013 at 11:57 PM
It wasn't by accident that she chose to get behind the wheel of that car while drinking. The only accident was hitting the officer, because obviously she didn't mean to hit the officer. Hitting the officer was an accident, however, the crime of drinking and driving was a willful act which sadly led to the death of this officer. This was no accident and sentencing should not reflect that it was an accident. She needs to get the maximum sentence available for her willful act which led to the death of this officer.
Steve Gower January 12, 2013 at 04:47 AM
This would be a good time to push for the enactment of a law making drunk driving a felony. Under the current law DUI is barely a misdemeanor - in the same league as disorderly conduct at most. An accident is treated as an aggravating factor when it does occur. It needs to be the other way around - the fact that the offender does not have an accident might be considered a somewhat mitagating factor. I don't see any difference in severity when someone goes into a shopping center and starts firing a gun randomly. Which, by the way, has always been a felony. But a charge like that would not be mitigated much if at all if they don't hurt or kill someone - they're still going to get nailed to the wall. Why the leniency with DUI?
Vickie Wagnor January 13, 2013 at 06:11 AM
Think more than twice before you get behind the wheel when you've been drinking! I think the punishment fits the crime.
Peach January 13, 2013 at 03:16 PM
There were probably a lot of drunk politicians wanting to protect themselves in case they hit someone, so they passed legislation to make it a misdemeanor. It should definitely be changed. A DUI is JUST as lethal as a shooting.
electric123 January 14, 2013 at 05:49 AM
To all you blood thirsty "THROW THE GIRL UNDER THE BUS DAY FOR DAY NO BEHAVIOR ATTITUDES" It ain't gonna happen,1) prisons systems across the US are overcrowded2) she will get rehab in prison or halfway house. 3) unless she committed a heinous crime she might do a 1/3 and make parole.4) DUI manslaughter is not a heinous crime like child molestation or dismembering a victim. The Parole board is under no obligation to follow the courts recommendations or the public outcry for justice!
Peach January 14, 2013 at 07:45 PM
We shall see.
Ceciel January 16, 2013 at 01:21 AM
Crista Scott did not do any time because her parents had money and could afford a good lawyer. This girl is from the trailer parks.
Ceciel January 16, 2013 at 01:22 AM
Crista Scott did not do any time because her parents had money and could afford a good lawyer. This girl is from the trailer parks.
Mark Murray January 16, 2013 at 09:54 PM
Harsh words for a Bad choice made! Sin has nothing to do with it! The persons race has nothing to do with it! A bad decision on her end caused the death of a person! If it were a white cop that was killed it would be the same thing! Please think a little before casting such harsh definitive replies! None of us are wearing a black robe in this discussion! Think of this! Thousands of people all across our country make the bad choice to drink and drive regardless of intent and do so every day! This could happen everyday! The real issue is drinking and driving! If you can afford to "Go out" then lets assume you can afford a taxi! At the very least you can use your cell phone to call for a ride! It's truly a tragedy when anyone dies because of someones BAD DECISION! Just saying...
John Dorian January 17, 2013 at 12:07 PM
Jones should get a better dui lawyer. This is how a plea should look like from a true lawyer: www.youtube.com/watch?v=B4LrHJCLs3Q

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