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Controversial heart transplant recipient killed in police chase | Crime

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Controversial heart transplant recipient killed in police chase
Crime, News
Controversial heart transplant recipient killed in police chase

ROSWELL, Ga. -- A source close to the family confirms the 17-year-old killed in a high speed police chase was the recipient of a heart transplant in 2013.

Anthony Stokes made national headlines when Children's Healthcare of Atlanta originally refused to put him on the transplant list "due to having a history of non-compliance." After a public push from his family, Stokes was added to the list, and went through a successful heart surgery in August 2013.

Police say Stokes died after crashing a vehicle while fleeing from police in Roswell on Tuesday.

According to Lisa Holland of the Roswell Police Department, a home break-in happened off of Alpine Drive. An elderly woman said someone kicked in the door. She ran into her bedroom and called 911. Responding officers attempted to pull the suspect over and a chase ensued.

The suspect lost control, hit a curb and then a pedestrian. The suspect then struck a pole at the intersection of Hembree Road and Highway 9. Authorities extracted him from the car and taken to North Fulton Medical Center, where he was later pronounced dead.

The pedestrian hit by Stokes has been identified as 33-year-old Clementina Hernandez. She remains in stable condition.

Jail records show Stokes was arrested in January for allegedly stealing a car in a Walmart parking lot. He was also arrested twice in Newton County. Stokes turned 17 last November, so the rest of his record is sealed as a juvenile.

It's news that saddened Mack Major, a man who tried to mentor Stokes for several years. The last time he saw Stokes, he was talking about college.

"I was sure that he would be one of my poster kids, I really did, because he was on the right track, he was talking right. He was doing everything he was supposed to do," said Major.

Stokes wrote on his Facebook page he was attending Georgia Perimeter College, but the school says they have no record of him. Major says the pictures on his page also made his heart skip a beat.

"Every shot he had with the gun in his hand… with his pants hanging way down. Bothered me so much that it's absolutely sickening," said Major.

Doctors never explained why they felt he would be "non-compliant" when they denied Stokes initial request for a transplant. Stokes was wearing a court ordered ankle monitor at the time. His mother said it was for fighting. A close family friend says it was drugs.

At the time, Stokes' mother, Melencia Hamilton said, "He's a young boy. He's going to make mistakes."

Major says he's saddened at the way Stokes's life ended, but says he'd do it again. He truly believes the donor's heart was not wasted.

"I would tell them (donor's family) still, you did a good thing. You did a god pleasing thing," said Major. "I don't know what he said to God in that last moment before life departed. I taught him about God... perhaps he applied some of that in his last moments. I don't know."

In the two years Stokes had his donor heart , 697 people died waiting to get one.

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