Police chase ends in death of Georgia teenager with heart transplant

Reuters News
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Posted: Apr 01, 2015 11:50 AM

By David Beasley

ATLANTA (Reuters) - A Georgia teenager who had received a heart transplant after a national debate about whether he deserved the operation died during a high-speed chase with police in a stolen car, authorities said on Wednesday.

Anthony Stokes, 17, who had an enlarged heart, initially was denied a transplant at an Atlanta hospital two years ago for failing to take his medicine and not showing up for doctor’s appointments, according to his family.

As his case received wide attention, the hospital changed its decision and he received a new heart in 2013.

On Tuesday afternoon, police in Roswell, north of Atlanta, tried to pull Stokes over for a suspected home burglary, according to Roswell police spokeswoman Lisa Holland.

Stokes was driving a vehicle that he had carjacked at a local shopping mall, she said.

During the police chase, he hit another car and a pedestrian, before striking a metal pole, Holland said.

Stokes died at a local hospital, Holland said. The pedestrian was alert and taken to a hospital, she added.

In a statement on Wednesday, the hospital that performed the transplant, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, said, “We cannot provide any additional information about this tragic situation. We are deeply saddened by this loss.”

There are 4,086 people in the United States on the waiting list for heart transplants, according to the United Network for Organ Sharing.

Stokes' family could not immediately be reached for comment.

(Editing by Letitia Stein and Mohammad Zargham)