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Victims identified in wreck

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Parker

Hot Springs police on Thursday released the identities of two people who were killed Wednesday when their car was struck by a reportedly stolen vehicle in the 2100 block of Albert Pike.

Police said George Luster, 49, and Kathaline Luster, 51, both of Hot Springs, were killed when their vehicle was struck by the alleged stolen vehicle, which was driven by Gystin Michael Parker, 19, of Riverdale, Ga.

Parker was taken into custody at the scene and transported to a local hospital for treatment of injuries he suffered in the wreck. He was released from the hospital shortly before 1 p.m. Thursday and transported to the Garland County Detention Center.

Parker is charged with felony counts of theft by receiving more than $5,000 and fleeing in a vehicle, each punishable by up to 10 years in prison. He is being held in lieu of $105,000 bond and is set to appear Sept. 25 in Garland County District Court.

"The investigation is ongoing and we anticipate more charges in this case," police said in a news release on Thursday.

According to the probable cause affidavit on the theft and fleeing charges, shortly after 10:30 a.m. Wednesday a woman reported that her white 2012 Hyundai Sonata, valued at $10,000, had been stolen from a residence in the 400 block of Linwood Avenue.

At around 11:21 a.m., police Officer 1st Class Richard Nunez spotted the Sonata turning north onto Third Street off Hobson Avenue and, after confirming it was the stolen vehicle by checking the license plate, he followed it.

Nunez and Officer 1st Class Jason Greene initiated a traffic stop on the Sonata on Hicks Circle at 11:25 a.m. As the officers exited their vehicles to approach the vehicle, the driver, later identified as Parker, sped away and headed west onto Albert Pike.

Nunez and Greene pursued the vehicle onto Albert Pike as Sgt. Kenny Kizer followed them. The affidavit notes Parker was "driving at an extremely high rate of speed in heavy traffic, passing cars on the double yellow line."

The officers lost sight of the fleeing vehicle in about the 1600 block of Albert Pike and Kizer ordered them to terminate the pursuit in the area of Albert Pike and Hammond Drive.

About three minutes later, Greene located the Sonata crashed in the 2100 block of the roadway, where Parker had apparently failed to negotiate a slight left curve, leaving the roadway to the right. Parker struck the Lusters' green 2002 Toyota Corolla, which was stopped on Gilchrist Street at a stop sign where the roadway intersects Albert Pike.

Parker's vehicle overturned, coming to rest upside down about 200 feet from where he left the roadway. The Corolla came to rest in a ditch approximately 130 feet from where it was struck. The Lusters were pronounced dead at the scene by Garland County Coroner Stuart Smedley.

Parker was removed from the Sonata and placed into custody by Greene, the affidavit states.

According to court records from Cobb County, Ga., Parker was convicted on Nov. 3, 2017, after pleading guilty to misdemeanor counts of fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer, theft by receiving of stolen property, possession of marijuana, obstruction of an officer and possession of drug-related objects while felony counts of theft by receiving of stolen property and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime were withdrawn.

He was sentenced to one year of probation and one of the conditions of his probation was not to leave Georgia without permission of his community supervision officer. It was unknown if he had obtained permission to come to Arkansas.

According to the warrant on the charges, on March 31, 2017, Parker stole a 2009 Honda Accord and "fled from police on multiple occasions while in the stolen vehicle." He was also in possession of a 9-mm pistol stolen in a burglary. Also taken in the same burglary were two televisions which were found in the vehicle after his arrest.

Parker reportedly had 12 grams of marijuana in his possession at the time of his arrest, including 9 grams in his pants pocket and 3 grams found in the vehicle.

He was also cited for numerous traffic violations, including driving on a suspended driver's license, he committed during the pursuit by police.

Local on 09/14/2018

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