Conyers, GA – A suspect in a string of vehicle burglaries fled from police in a stolen mortuary van on Tuesday, dumping a body out of the vehicle into the parking lot as he sped off, according to police.
Conyers Police Department (CPD) detectives had been searching for 23-year-old Kijon Griffin in connection with multiple vehicle break-ins, CPD Captain Kim Lucas told WAGA.
When Griffin spotted detectives closing in on him on Tuesday, he jumped behind the wheel of a van parked outside a crematory and sped away, police said.
The back hatch of the van was open when the suspect stomped on the accelerator.
“Unfortunately, there was a body on the gurney inside and when the suspect did take off the gurney rolled out of the van,” Capt. Lucas told WAGA.
The body ended up in the mortuary parking lot, the CPD said in a press release.
“At least, thankfully, it did not go out into the road,” Capt. Lucas told WAGA.
Griffin sped off down Interstate 20 with multiple officers in pursuit, the CPD said.
He crashed into several vehicles on the interstate before police disabled the stolen van just before Wesley Chapel Road in DeKalb County, according to the press release.
After a “tire blew” on the van, Griffin bailed out and took of on foot into the woods between Wesley Chapel and Panola Road, the CPD said.
DeKalb County Police Department officers and K9s responded to the scene, as well as the Georgia State Patrol and a Highway Emergency Response Operators (HERO) unit.
Police secured a perimeter and began searching for Griffin, but he managed to escape, police said.
He ended up turning himself in to the Rockdale County Jail on Wednesday morning, according to the CPD.
Griffin has been charged with fleeing and attempting to elude police, motor vehicle theft, and entering auto, as well as additional charges, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
He also has warrants out of Gwinnett County, according to WAGA.
Stan Henderson, the owner of the mortuary van, said he was stunned when he learned someone had stolen the vehicle and left a body out in the parking lot of his business, WAGA reported.
“It’s ridiculous that the dead can’t even rest,” Henderson told the news outlet.