NEWNAN, Ga. — The suspect in a high-speed chase had an odd response when he explained why he ran from a Georgia State Trooper on Sunday afternoon.
Trooper First Class 1 A.J. Jensen said he was checking speeds while sitting in the median along I-85 when he first noticed the suspect. He said the driver was in a gray Dodge Charger and clocked in at 90 mph on the southbound side.
TFC Jensen said he turned on his lights and sirens while attempting to catch up with the speeder. But, as he gained ground, he noticed the driver was passing other vehicles and didn't appear to have any plan to slow down.
Jensen said that he eventually set up for a PIT maneuver as the Charger reached speeds up to 125 mph not far from Ga. 154. But the first attempt was unsuccessful and, according to the state trooper, the escaping driver became even more reckless, crossing several lanes and eventually exiting to Bullsboro Drive.
At this point, TFC Jensen said the driver was sliding across a grass median and continuing to drive dangerously. So, near Celebrate Life Parkway, he tried to PIT maneuver the driver once more. This time, the contact caused the escaping car's wheel to break. But he still attempted to escape, this time heading west in eastbound lanes. Fortunately, several cars that were on the road were still sitting at a red light near the Ga. 34 Bypass.
The suspect ultimately bailed from the vehicle, but the trooper said the man wasn't done just yet. A foot pursuit began near Golden Corral, then behind O'Charley's and then Cracker Barrel.
But TFC Jensen told 11Alive that Newnan Police and the Coweta County Sheriff's Office had been notified at this point and soon deputies were able to track the driver down - he was hiding in some bushes behind yet another restaurant - Chick-fil-A.
The suspect allegedly made one last attempt to get away, heading toward the Kentucky Fried Chicken, before deputies caught up and tackled him.
According to TFC Jensen, when asked why he led the Georgia State Patrol, local police, and county deputies on the chase, he said he didn't have any insurance and that his tag was expired.
TFC Jensen said both points checked out, adding that the driver's tag had been expired for two months. However, he didn't have a suspended license.
That said, authorities said he did have some marijuana and MDMA.
As a result, in addition to numerous traffic charges, the driver is facing counts of felony fleeing, felony possession of a Schedule I substance, and possession of marijuana.