ALBANY — A police officer died in the line of duty as her patrol car crashed in pursuit of two armed robbery suspects speeding through East Albany shortly before 4 p.m. Friday, Albany Police Department officials said.
Barely married six months, 36-year-old officer Terry L. Fleming gave her life in service to her community, Police Chief John Proctor said. She leaves behind her husband and three children.
Another officer, Gregory Batson, the driver of the second patrol car involved in the crash, was injured but was doing well Friday evening, Proctor said.
“She was doing what she loved best — serving her community,” Proctor said. “We lost a fine person and one of our finest officers doing the job she wished to do.”
Kentrell Bernard Butler and Wesley Martavi Wilkerson, both 22, are charged with felony murder, armed robbery, three counts of aggravated assault, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and in the commission of a crime, stated a police report.
According to Proctor, this is the way the robbery pursuit went: A call came in that the Consolidated Finance Co., 425 Pine Ave., was being robbed by armed men. Officers responded in their patrol cars, joined by other police officers in cruisers.
Following the two suspects in their Chevrolet Tahoe into East Albany and along Blaylock Street just before Residence Avenue, Batson and Fleming’s patrol cars collided. The collision sent Fleming’s car into a tree, where it burst into flames. She was killed in the wreck.
Patrol cars continued the chase after the Tahoe occupied by Butler and Wilkerson. Reports stated the Tahoe rammed patrol cars, careened out of control, hit a tree and flipped over on Turner Field Road near Schilling Avenue.
The men, who police said were armed, were apprehended and brought to the Law Enforcement Center for questioning. A gun and cash were entered into evidence lockers. After questioning, the men were charged and booked into Dougherty County Jail.
Multiple law enforcement agencies, the Albany Fire Department and Dougherty County Emergency Medical Services responded to the crash. The Georgia State Patrol has the wreck under investigation and is handling the report.
“These are men with long criminal histories,” Proctor said. “We have to stand up and take back the community. The people have to support the police officers.”