A man faces numerous charges after a high-speed chase in Stephens County Friday night.
Toccoa Police Chief Tim Jarrell said the chase started in the Memorial Drive area of Toccoa just before 11:30 p.m. Friday.
“The police department was conducting safety checkpoints around the city in various locations and the vehicle was seen attempting to avoid coming through the safety check,” said Jarrell. “It actually turned around before it got to it and one of the officers present saw it and attempted to stop the vehicle. The vehicle actually pulled over to the side, but before the officer could make contact with the driver or any of the occupants of the vehicle, it took off. A small chase began.”
Jarrell said that a supervisor and the officer involved both felt the speeds in the chase were becoming unsafe considering the area where the chase was taking place, so police ended the chase.
However, it soon re-started nearby.
According to Stephens County Sheriff Randy Shirley, the vehicle then made its way onto the Toccoa By-pass.
A Georgia State Patrol spokesperson says that a trooper then clocked the vehicle, identified as a 1996 Ford Mustang, at 94 miles per hour in a 55 mile per hour zone at the intersection of the By-pass and Cawthon Road.
According to the GSP, the Mustang first stopped, then crossed the median and headed south.
Sheriff Shirley says authorities then pursued the vehicle at high speeds down Highway 17 south.
“We joined in on Highway 17 with two other troopers that were heading south on 17 towards Franklin County,” said Shirley. “The speeds were in excess of 125 miles per hour and the traffic was light where we were all able to maneuver around the traffic safely. One of the troopers saw an opportunity as they neared Avalon, as he turned onto Highway 328, to do a PIT maneuver. As a result of that, it stopped the chase and he (the suspect) struck a tree.”
A PIT maneuver is when a pursuing vehicle intentionally makes contact with the vehicle it is chasing in order to make it lose control and come to a stop.
Shirley said that authorities arrested a man identified as 29-year-old Christopher Hatcher of Toccoa.
The Georgia State Patrol said it has charged Hatcher with numerous charges. They include DUI after he refused the test; endangering a child under 14 while DUI; driving while declared as a habitual violator; felony fleeing and attempting to elude; reckless driving; driving while license suspended or revoked; speeding at 125 miles per hour in a 55 zone; and driving on the wrong side of the roadway.
Chief Jarrell said that Hatcher will also face charges from the Toccoa Police Department.
Sheriff Shirley said Hatcher remained in custody at last report in the Stephens County Jail.
The sheriff said nobody was hurt in the chase. He added that a child and a pregnant female were in Hatcher’s vehicle during the chase.
When asked why Hatcher ran, Shirley said he had a suspended driver’s license. In addition, Shirley said authorities believe he was driving under the influence at the time of the chase.