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Teen who received controversial heart transplant dead after carjacking, chase

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Posted at 1:04 PM, Apr 01, 2015
and last updated 2015-04-01 15:26:17-04

ATLANTA – The story of Anthony Stokes was supposed to have a happy ending.

Instead it ended Tuesday, police say, with the teen heart transplant recipient carjacking someone, burglarizing a home, shooting at an elderly woman, leading police on a high speed chase and then dying after his car hit a pole.

In this story

  • In 2013, Anthony Stokes' family said a hospital refused him a heart due to his "history of noncompliance"
  • Hospital eventually gave Stokes a heart; on Tuesday he carjacked someone, burglarized a home, police said
  • Stokes shot at an elderly woman, hit a pedestrian with a stolen car and died in a police chase, authorities said

In 2013, the teen’s family told media that an Atlanta hospital rejected him for heart transplant surgery due to what the hospital described in a letter as Stokes’ “history of non-compliance.”

At the time, Mark Bell was acting as a Stokes family spokesman.

Bell told CNN that a doctor told the family that Anthony’s low grades and time in juvenile detention factored into the hospital’s decision to deny him a heart.

“The doctor made the decision that he wasn’t a good candidate because of that,” Bell said then. “I guess he didn’t think Anthony was going to be a productive citizen.”

About a week after Stokes’ story made headlines, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta gave him a heart.

On Tuesday, Stokes carjacked someone at a mall, kicked in the door of a home in Roswell, Georgia, and fired a shot at an elderly woman, who called 911, said Roswell police spokeswoman Lisa Holland.

Stokes drove away in a black SUV, she said. Police spotted the car and ran its plates which showed it had been stolen.

Police chased the vehicle.

Stokes lost control of the car, hit a pedestrian and then a pole, Holland said. The vehicle was nearly halved, she said.

The pedestrian is stable and in good condition, according to CNN affiliate WSB.

Stokes died at a hospital, Holland said.

In 2013, Stokes’ family provided media with a letter they said was from Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.

“Anthony is currently not a transplant candidate due to having a history of noncompliance, which is one of our center’s contraindications to listing for heart transplant,” it read.

Assessing compliance for potential transplant recipients is important because if a patient doesn’t strictly take all required medicines as directed, he or she could die within weeks of leaving the hospital, said Dr. Ryan Davies, a cardiothoracic surgeon at the Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, Delaware, told CNN.

Davies was not involved with this case.

When Stokes’ family was trying to get him a heart, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference advocated for the teen.

SCLC’s the Rev. Samuel Mosteller told CNN that he was disappointed. “We got this young man a second chance in life,” he said.

SCLC referred the teenager to a mentor program in the Atlanta area, but Mosteller said that he wasn’t sure if the teenager participated.

“What happened between the time in 2013 to now, I don’t really know,” he said. “How much Anthony recognized the gravity of things and did what he needed to do to make himself a viable citizen, I don’t know. But we tried.”