Judith Schonbak, a longtime journalist and artist who wrote about the arts for the Reporter, was killed Aug. 2 in a Chamblee crash that the Georgia State Patrol says was caused by the driver of a stolen vehicle.

Jonathan A. Sanchez, 20, of Atlanta is charged with murder, first-degree vehicular homicide, hit-and-run and other offenses, according to GSP. Further charges of kidnapping, theft and child cruelty were pending from local police, GSP said.

According to GSP spokesperson Lt. Stephanie Stallings, Sanchez is accused of stealing a pickup truck from the parking lot of a business on Buford Highway. The truck had been left running with a 6- or 7-year-old boy inside, according to GSP. Sanchez allegedly struck vehicles in the parking lot and released the boy, then drove onto Buford Highway.

Sanchez is accused of running a red light at the intersection of Buford Highway and Chamblee-Tucker Road and hitting a car driven by Schonbak, 79, who had the right of way. The collision caused a series of impacts with four other vehicles, according to GSP.

Sanchez is accused of fleeing the scene on foot. He was arrested about one hour later by Chamblee Police officers, GSP said.

Schonbak’s long career in the arts included service as board president of Buckhead’s Atlanta Artists Center. She had covered the arts for the Reporter since 2018. For more about Schonbak’s life and career, see our story here.

John Ruch

John Ruch is an Atlanta-based journalist. Previously, he was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.