ATLANTA (AJC/WAOK)-A veteran female Atlanta police officer was struck by a vehicle and killed just north of the Downtown Connector late Tuesday night, APD Chief George Turner said.

The officer who was killed has been identified as 46 year old Senior Police Officer Gail Thomas– a 15-year veteran of the Atlanta police force. SPO Thomas was assisting another officer with an earlier traffic accident on the Brookwood Interchange ramp from  I-75 southbound to I-85 northbound, and had just gotten out of her patrol car when she was hit, according to Turner.

The Zone 5 morning watch officer had just started her shift when she was hit. The officer died at the scene.

The investigation into the accident caused traffic tie-ups overnight and early Wednesday as authorities routed southbound traffic off of I-75 at Cumberland Boulevard, several miles north of the accident site. The interstate was reopened around 3:30 a.m.

The driver whose vehicle hit the officer was arrested, and Turner said that alcohol appeared to have been a factor with the motorist that struck the officer. The driver has been identified as Chasity Jones of Stone Mountain. Jones faces charges of  homicide by vehicle, 1st degree DUI, and reckless driving. Jones was taken to the Fulton County Jail

The chief said the incident left the officer’s colleagues shaken.

“As you can imagine, there are a lot of very raw nerves and emotions,” Turner said. “We are very concerned about the family, and also about our family. We encourage our officers to depend on each other and to seek out help.”

“I am deeply saddened that one of our police officers lost her life in the line of duty last night,” said Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed.  “Senior Police Officer Thomas was a veteran police officer whose sense of duty and commitment to public safety inspired many of her fellow officers.  The City of Atlanta is quiet as we mourn this terrible loss.  My thoughts and prayers are with her family and colleagues during this difficult time.”

More in this report from the  AJC

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