Three burglary suspects killed after crashing into pond

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Three burglary suspects fleeing from authorities were killed early Monday morning after crashing a vehicle into a pond in Clayton County. 

Tomeka Thornton said her 19-year-old cousin, Mark Anthony Mathis, was one of the three suspected burglars who died early Monday morning when a Chrysler crashed into a pond.

“I hate that this happened like this a day after Mother's Day. It just shouldn't have ended like this over nothing,” said Thornton.

Clayton County police said 21-year-old Eddie Alford and 19-year-old Devongelo Hunter also died. Thornton is heartbroken, but said she wants other young men to learn a lesson from the deadly decisions her cousin and his friends made overnight.

“Just go out and get a job. Don't rob, don't steal and don't hurt other people just to get what you want. You see it's not worth it,” Thornton told FOX 5's Portia Bruner.

According to the Fayette County Sheriff's Office, authorities were called just before 4:30 a.m. after a burglary at a Sprint PCS store on North Highway 85 in Fayetteville. A gray Chrysler was seen leaving the scene with four young men seen inside it. 

A deputy spotted the Chrysler driving northbound on Highway 85 in Fayette County, and was eventually able to catch up to the vehicle on State Route 85 in Clayton County. That's when the suspects turned onto Flint River Road. 

WATCH: Police release video of the chase

Clayton's police chief said the Chrysler struck a car on Taylor Road, but he said, since it was dark, no one knew the Chrysler went airborne and crashed into the pond as officers helped the man who'd just been hit. Investigators said the vehicle was submerged nearly 15 minutes.

“My officers immediately entered the vehicle and tried to get to the folks inside to render aid, but they were unsuccessful. The young men were dead here on the scene,” said Deputy Clayton Police Chief Joseph Woodall.

It is not clear how one young man, who police are not naming, escaped from the wreckage. Police said they have identified the suspect, and are searching for him. 

“Sheer luck or maybe it was the hand of God saying today was not his day,” Woodall said.

According to investigators, all four suspects had criminal records in Clayton County. 

The driver of the other vehicle involved was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries. 

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