ATHENS, Ga. -- A woman and her husband are grieving the loss of their unborn baby, killed in a head-on collision.
The driver who was arrested -- accused of causing the collision and of DUI -- was a fleeing felon.
The victim and the suspect are both being treated for their injuries at Piedmont Athens Regional Medical Center.
The incident happened this past Thursday on Georgia Highway 82 near Highway 211, about 10 miles east of Winder.
Barrow County sheriff’s deputies were chasing a fugitive, Aubrey Franklin Arnold, 36. They said that, during the chase, Arnold drove into oncoming traffic and slammed his pickup truck, head-on, into a Kia, driven by Nichole Faith Allen, 27.
Allen was severely injured. She was 18 weeks pregnant and lost her baby.
“This guy defines recidivist,” said Barrow County Sheriff Jud Smith, describing Arnold as "a career criminal.... He should have been in jail.”
Sheriff Smith said Arnold was wanted in two counties for felony probation violations.
It was in neighboring Jackson County, in 2006, where Arnold was sentenced to 10 years probation for theft, as well as one year probation for battery; he was also fined $1,000 for reckless driving.
In Barrow County in 2014, while Arnold was still on probation in Jackson County, Arnold was convicted of additional crimes but was not sent to prison. Instead, he was sentenced to 15 months probation -- for possession of meth with intent to distribute; and 12 months probation -- for obstruction of a police officer.
Smith said Arnold violated his probation and disappeared; then last week someone called in an anonymous tip, and deputies spotted Arnold parked outside a convenience store, in his pickup truck. Smith said when deputies tried to arrest Arnold, Arnold drove away, struck one of the deputies with his pickup (the deputy was not seriously injured), and sped off -- crashing into Allen about five miles away.
Nichole Allen and her husband, Brian Allen, owned a candle shop together in downtown Winder across from the old courthouse, and she and her husband were looking forward to the birth of their first baby.
“The young lady asked, 'What did I do wrong?'” Smith said. “She didn’t do anything wrong. You [try to] explain to them that the system sometimes fails us. Mr. Arnold needed to be in jail.”
There was no word, Monday night, on Allen's condition.
Arnold is under 24-hour guard. Smith said that when Arnold leaves the hospital, it will be in handcuffs. Smith expects the initial charges against Arnold will include feticide by vehicle, aggravated assault on a law officer, DUI, and multiple traffic violations.
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