Stolen truck crashes into house in east Athens


Branandez Laquandiz Cooper

By Joe Johnson

A house in east Athens reportedly was damaged last week when it was struck by a stolen pickup truck after the driver jumped from the vehicle while being pursued by police.

The incident began at about 5:15 a.m. Thursday when officers responded to the area of Oconee Street and the Athens Perimeter on a report that a 2017 Toyota Tacoma that had been stolen from the driveway of a home on Dearing Street had seen there, according to an Athens-Clarke County police report.

One of the police units that arrived in that area attempted a traffic stop upon spotting the stolen truck driving up North Peter Street, according to the report.

After turning onto Fairview Street, the report notes, the truck led the officer through numerous side streets, running stop signs along the way, including one that was knocked down at Fairview and Baker streets where the suspect jumped out of the moving truck that continued to roll down Baker Street, where it went through a fence and ran over a stop sign before crashing into a house on Vine Street, damaging the foundation of the dwelling, according to the police report.

During a search of the area, officers located 21-year-old Branandez Laquandiz Cooper of Riverdale in possession of multiple credit cards that bore the names of others, according to the report.

A back pack in the truck contained makeup, a set of Apple AirPods, and headphones. An additional credit card with someone else’s name on it was in a cup holder, according to the report.

Cooper was arrested for theft by receiving a stolen motor vehicle and obstruction.

He was issued two citations for hit and run, and one each for driving while license suspended, and failure to obey a stop sign, according to the report.

A Magistrate Court judge granted Cooper an own-recognizance bond for the citations, and a total bond of $2,050 for the criminal offenses. The bonds had not been posted as of Wednesday afternoon.



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