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By Mike Morris
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

ATLANTA - A veteran Atlanta police sergeant was killed early Friday when his car was struck head-on by a suspected drunken driver being chased by a Douglas County sheriff's deputy.
The suspected drunken driver also was killed in the crash, which occurred on a two-lane road in south Fulton County.
Fulton County police spokeswoman Kay Lester said a Ford Focus headed eastbound on Campbellton Road about 12:20 a.m. crossed the center line east of Stonewall Tell Road and hit an oncoming Ford Crown Victoria, killing both drivers.
Atlanta police Sgt. Darrell D. Johnson, 42, of Atlanta, was driving the Crown Victoria, according to the Fulton County Medical Examiner's office.
The Focus driver was identified as Brent E. Jacobs, 21, of Douglasville.
Johnson, known as "D.D." to his colleagues, had worked at the Atlanta department for 18 years.
He was working most recently as an administrative assistant in the Criminal Investigations Division, which is the investigative arm of the department.
But Johnson had also worked as a hostage negotiator, K-9 dog handler and in drug, motorycle and internal affairs units, said Atlanta police Deputy Chief Carlos Banda, who was Johnson's supervisor.
"Not a nicer person you'll ever meet in the world," Banda said. "Always had a smile on his face, always was very positive."
Banda said the grind of being a police officer never made Johnson jaded.
"He was a direct opposite of that," Banda said. "He came to the police department that way and he left the same way."
Johnson was on his way home from working an off-duty job in the Brookhaven community north of Buckhead, police said. He is survived by his wife and children, including a young son.
"It was a complete shock," Banda said. "You always think the good people die young. I know that's an old cliche, but that's the first thing I thought of."
The fatal chase began after another motorist called 911 to report that Jacobs' Focus was weaving on Douglassville Road, Douglas County sheriff's Chief Deputy Stan Copeland said. That motorist stayed behind the Focus and directed a deputy to it's location, Copeland said. When the deputy tried to stop the Focus, it took off.
The deputy chased the Focus for about seven miles before the it crossed into Johnson's lane about two miles into Fulton County, Copeland said.
The Douglas County Sheriff's Office was investigating whether the deputy "still had contact [with Jacobs] or had lost him" when the crash occurred, Copeland said. He couldn't say what speeds were reached during the chase, only that "at some point, there were some high speeds."
"This has been a very somber morning here," Copeland said. "Our hearts go out to the [Atlanta] police department and the officer's family."
Staff writer Tim Eberly contributed to this report.

Wire Service
 
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