FORT MUDGE — A Pembroke man wanted for armed robbery was killed and a Douglas woman was seriously injured Sunday when their car crashed on U.S. 1 Sunday as it was being pursued by lawmen from Charlton County, said Ware County Sheriff Randy Royal.
A few miles into Ware County on U.S. 1 South, Georgia State Patrol Waycross post commander Sgt. Chad Woods deployed stop sticks to try to slow down the car that had hit top speeds of nearly 120 mph, Royal said.
“The driver either hit the stop sticks or veered to avoid them and wound up in the median,” said Royal. “She then over-corrected the steering and the vehicle skidded back across the northbound lanes and onto the east shoulder and then into the ditch where it made a 180-degree turn. The car then struck a Georgia Power pole, clipping it in half, went airborne and struck three pine trees before coming to rest on the shoulder embankment.”
The passenger, Hannah Coleman, 35, of Pembroke, died in the 1:12 p.m. crash, said Royal. He was pronounced dead at the scene by Ware County Coroner Atha Lucas. Royal said his body was found in the back seat of the car, a 2018 Mazda.
The driver, Sauntierra Freeman, 35, of Neal Drive, Douglas, was airlifted from the scene by AirEvac to UF Health in Jacksonville, Fla. with serious but unspecified injuries, said Royal.
Coleman was wanted in Glynn County on armed robbery charges and in Jacksonville, Fla., on an outstanding warrant, said Royal. He said the chase started when a Charlton County deputy sheriff clocked the car at nearly 20 mph over the speed limit.
“The Ware County Sheriff’s Department was dispatched at 1:12 p.m. to U.S. 1 South at mile marker 5, the northbound lanes just inside Ware County,” said Royal. “Deputy Douglas Popps, of Charlton County, said he clocked the car going 84 in a 65 mph speed zone northbound on U.S. 1 in Charlton and tried to make a traffic stop, but the driver sped away, reaching 118 mph.”
Found in the car were a brown Gucci bag holding a quantity of powder cocaine and a Bushmaster AR-15 with a loaded 45-caliber magazine. Also in the car was a set of digital scales, a camouflage mask, camouflage pants and a supply of baggies used for dispensing drugs, said Royal.
Ware County Deputy Hunter Thomas and Sgt. Michael Merritt assisted the GSP with the investigation.