GBI probes death of detainee

ALBANY, Ga. -- The Georgia Bureau of Investigation has launched an investigation at the request of the Dougherty County Police Department into how a person in custody died after attempting to flee from police early Tuesday morning.

GBI Assistant Special-Agent-In-Charge Mark Pro told The Herald Tuesday that 36-year-old Denevious L. Thomas of Albany died after a DCP officer attempted a traffic stop around 2 a.m. Tuesday.

Pro said that initial interviews suggest that the officer saw Thomas weaving along the roadway, which led him to initiate the traffic stop.

"When he (the officer) tried to pull him over, he (Thomas) tried to flee and crashed into a small brick wall at Sunny Lane and Jefferies Road," Pro said. "He then tried to get out of the car and flee and was tasered by the officer."

Pro said that Thomas was able to get to his feet with help and walk back to the police car where he was placed in the rear seat.

As officers began interviewing a passenger in the car, Pro said "they got a piece of information that prompted them to go back to the car and check on Mr. Thomas."

Pro says that Thomas appeared to be okay. At some point between then and the time paramedics --who were responding to the crash -- arrived, Thomas died.

His body has been taken to a crime lab for autopsy. The immediate cause of death remains a mystery, Pro said.

"It could be from a variety of things, but like I said, he was able to walk back to the car, and he appeared fine when officers checked on him. It looks like we'll have to wait for the autopsy to see how Mr. Thomas died," Pro said.