MOULTRIE, Ga. — A third person has died following a crash Jan. 1 near Stringfellow Elementary School.

Emanuel Malagon-Avila, age not disclosed, was a passenger in the white Chevrolet Tahoe that a Moultrie police officer attempted to stop prior to the accident, according to Lt. David Corona of the Moultrie Police Department Criminal Investigation Division.

An incident report provided by Corona Wednesday said a patrolling officer on 11th Street Southeast ran the vehicle information on the Tahoe, and it came back as having a canceled registration. 

A traffic stop was attempted behind the Veterans of Foreign Wars building on 11th Street. The vehicle did not immediately stop. 

“The driver was driving slowly and appeared that they were looking for a place to stop,” the report reads. “The driver continued onto 12th Street S.E. heading towards Fifth Avenue S.E.”

The vehicle then “ran the stop sign but stopped to allow a vehicle to pass,” the report reads. The driver then accelerated once they reached 12th Street S.E. The officer activated both their lights and sirens. Because the officer slowed down or stopped at intersections, he could not identify his exact speed, according to the report.

The pursuit continued until the officers arrived at the 300 block of Fourth Avenue S.W., where the fleeing vehicle had struck a residence. Another vehicle was involved with the collision but both of its occupants told the officer they had only sustained minor injuries. 

The driver of the fleeing vehicle was unresponsive as officers awaited EMS and Fire Department services to arrive on scene. The passenger’s chest/shoulder area was “penetrated with a metal fence post,” according to the report. 

Georgia State Patrol, who took over the case, initially identified Jose Manuel Cuellar-Ortiz, 38 and Effrain Diaz, 37 as the driver and backseat passenger, respectively in the crash. 

Assistant Coroner Kevin Wimberly said Cuellar-Ortiz died at the scene, and Diaz died later at Colquitt Regional Medical Center. The Georgia State Patrol said Malagon-Avila died on Jan. 2.

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