NWGA Scanner | April 1st, 2021

Man pleads guilty in Fort Oglethorpe pursuit that ended in a fiery fatal crash in Chattanooga

Defendant Gass Enters Guilty Plea in Vehicular Homicide Case On October 7th, 2019, a Fort Oglethorpe Police Officer attempted to stop a 2008 Nissan Altima Base being driven by Douglas Cody Gass, age 23, of Chickamauga, Georgia, for reckless driving on Park Forest Drive. Gass failed to stop leading officers on a pursuit throughout Fort Oglethorpe. The pursuit went into Chattanooga, where the driver lost control and hit a power pole. Chattanooga PD spokesperson Trevor Tomas says the crash happened on East 38th Street. The car had three people inside: Gass and two passengers. Assistant District Attorney Andrew Coyle said one of the backseat passengers, 19-year-old Kobe Burchfield, was pinned in the vehicle. A transformer, damaged from the wreck, leaked oil on the car and Burchfield. The oil ignited, and Burchfield burned to death. Gass was already out of the car, and when it caught on fire, he fled the scene on foot. Gass made his way to Florida, even dyeing his hair to avoid being caught. Gass was found to have active warrants for his arrest and was eventually captured by U.S. Marshalls. The United States Marshals Service Florida Caribbean Regional Fugitive Task Force arrested Gass on November 1st, 2019, who at the time was one of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigations 10 Most Wanted fugitives. The Bay County Florida Sheriff’s Office and Taskforce members developed information that Douglas Cody Gass was living at 219 Corto Place, Panama City Beach, Florida. Officers went to the residence and observed Mr. Gass asleep on the couch in the living room area of the residence. When officers knocked, Gass fled to the rear of the home and refused to answer the door. Officers could hear Gass moving around in residence and, after several minutes, forced the door open. Attempts were made to get Gass to surrender, but he refused, and officers entered the home and found him hiding under one of the beds in a bedroom. He was taken into custody without further incident. In Hamilton County Criminal Court today, Gass pled guilty to the following charges: (1) Vehicular Homicide, (2) Reckless Aggravated Assault, and (3) Evading Arrest [D-felony]. The method and manner of his sentence will be determined at a sentencing hearing, which is set for June 10th, 2021, at 9:00 a.m.