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UPDATE: Mercer student dead, man arrested after Monroe County chase ends in a Macon crash

The driver is identified as an escapee out of Gwinnett County

MONROE COUNTY, Ga. — The passenger in a chase that started in Monroe County and ended in a crash in Macon Saturday evening has died. The driver is in custody.

Here's what happened.


A press release from Anna Lewis with the Monroe County Sheriff's Office says deputies tried to pull over a gray 2016 Dodge Charger for speeding on I-75 South around 8:45 p.m. Saturday.

When the vehicle didn't stop, deputies pursued the car.

The release says the car exited on I-475 at Zebulon Road, then went back onto the interstate. The car then exited at Eisenhower Parkway and headed towards Bloomfield Road.

Lewis says the driver lost control of the car, rolled, and hit two other cars and a building at the Madison on Mercer apartment complex off Bloomfield Road and Mercer University Drive.


The Monroe County Sheriff's Office says they arrested the driver, 25-year-old Erick Guillermo Tapia-Algeria of Snellville, Georgia.

He was taken to the Monroe County jail.

The sheriff's office identifies him as an escapee from a probation detention center work detail in Gwinnett County. He has warrants and charges in a number of counties, and the sheriff's office says he has multiple charges on the way in Monroe County.

The passenger, 21-year-old Sapphire Thomas of Stone Mountain, Georgia, was taken to the Medical Center, Navicent Health after the crash. 

Macon-Bibb Chief Coroner Leon Jones says she later died around 9:30 p.m. Saturday night.

Spokesman for Mercer University Kyle Sears confirms she was a currently enrolled student with the school.

Right now, it's not clear how the two were connected.


This is the second deadly crash that started in Monroe County in a little more than a month. 

A chase that began on I-75 North in Monroe County in late September ended with four people dying in a crash in Butts County.

RELATED: Authorities identify victims, suspects in deadly Butts County wreck that followed pursuit

Just last week, a chase ended in a crash at a Monroe County rest stop. No one was hurt, and the two suspects were arrested after a manhunt. 

Deputies say shots were fired during the chase.

RELATED: 'Get down or there's going to be a problem:' Gas station clerk describes run-in with Monroe County suspect

This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available.

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