BUTTS COUNTY, Ga. — Two armed robbery suspects are behind bars after leading authorities on a chase, Sunday.
According to the Sheriff's Office, it started after a patrol sergeant clocked a vehicle going 74 mph down Hwy 16 West near Dean Patrick Road in a 55 mph zone around 9:15 Sunday morning.
The sheriff's office said the deputy tried to conduct a traffic stop, but the suspect kept driving - reaching speeds of 100 mph before heading north on I-75.
The sergeant perform a PIT maneuver, causing the vehicle to spin out of control before coming to a stop.
Officers arrested one person, but they said a second man jumped out of the car and ran across several lanes of traffic. A Locust Grove Police Officer was ultimately able to chase him down and arrest him.
According the the sheriff's office, the pair had committed an armed robbery at a Milledgevill convenience store, and the evidence - a mask, gun and money - was apparently still in the car when the arrests were made.
The sheriff's office thanked all the agencies who helped in the chase, but also used it as a moment to explain why he said chases are needed.
The practices have come under scrutiny recently after several cases of fatalities related to police chases. Just last year in South Fulton, a police chase ended in a fiery crash that killed three people in a work van. The South Fulton Police Department released their chase policy following the crash, clarifying that stolen vehicles, like the one involved in the chase, are reason to begin a pursuit.
Before that, in 2016, a grandmother and her three grandchildren on their way to church were killed as a police chase crossed through a residential Atlanta-area neighborhood. The Atlanta and College Park police departments were both cited in a lawsuit, saying officers from both departments violated their own policies in chasing the stolen SUV at high speeds through residential neighborhoods.
But Butts County Sheriff Gary Long said in this case, a chase was necessary.
"All to often we see where legislators try to create laws to ban police pursuits. Many agencies across the State and Nation restrict their officers for chasing. This is a prime example of why Law Enforcement must pursue fleeing violators, while using extreme caution for the safety of the public," Long said. "If we did things like a lot of agencies and cancelled this pursuit because it was a speeding violation, we would have let two violent arm robbery perpetrators go.
"As long as I am Sheriff, if you flee in this County, we will pursue you and do everything in our power to apprehend you," he added.