Bond denied for suspect charged with murder after Ga. state trooper dies during chase

ATLANTA — A judge denied bond on Sunday for a man charged with murder in the death of a Georgia state trooper during a vehicular pursuit.

Trooper Jimmy Cenescar died after his cruiser left Interstate 85 on Jan. 28 and struck an embankment in the north Atlanta suburb of Suwanee. The Georgia Department of Public Safety said Cenescar was trying to stop a motorcycle for a traffic violation before it fled, prompting the trooper to give chase.

The Department announced on Friday that authorities arrested Gerson Ayala Rodriguez and charged him with felony murder, first-degree homicide, felony fleeing and attempting to elude and reckless driving.

It was not immediately clear whether Rodriguez had retained an attorney. A call to the Atlanta Office of the Public Defender was not immediately returned Sunday.

According to a crash report reviewed by WXIA-TV, a motorcycle driven by Rodriguez “split” two lanes to get away, and Cenescar swerved to evade other cars during the chase. He veered off the roadway down an embankment, where his vehicle crashed into trees and drainage rocks. Cenescar was taken to a suburban hospital, where he died.

In a statement on social media, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp called the arrest a “step toward justice for one of Georgia’s fallen heroes.”

In October 2021, Cenescar was credited with saving a man’s life after the man drove off an Atlanta bridge, falling onto a train track about 50 feet (15 meters) below. Cenescar drove his car through a locked gate to reach the man and render first aid.

Cenescar had worked for the Department of Public Safety since January 2023 and had graduated from trooper school in September.

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