A Dodge pickup that was chased from Pierce County into Waycross sits in the middle of the street after it collided with three other vehicles.
Three men — including one who escaped from an ambulance crew after being apprehended — were being sought by local law enforcement today after they were chased from Blackshear into Waycross where their pickup truck crashed into three private vehicles at the intersection of Plant Avenue and Pinehurst Drive about 10 p.m. Thursday, said Ware County Sheriff Randy Royal.
Waycross Capt. Tommy Cox said three people were injured in the accident.
One of the injured, Mark Hannon, 23, of Waycross, a suspect who was tackled by a driver of one of the three vehicles the pickup crashed into when it attempted a high-speed right turn onto Pinehurst Drive, was arrested by Blackshear Police Sgt. Charlie Wichman and then transported by Ware County EMS for treatment, Waycross Police Detective Scott Rowell said. Hannon, however, got off the ambulance when it arrived at the Waycross ER and left, Rowell said.
The other two suspects got away on foot running west, lawmen said.
Also injured was Dequansha Gardner, 18, of Waycross, a passenger in a 2005 Pontiac G6 driven by Tia Gardner, 17, of Waycross, Cox said. She was transported by Ware EMS to Mayo for treatment. Susan Higginson, 40, of Blackshear, complained of injury but refused treatment, Cox said. She was the driver of a 2009 Chevrolet Suburban that was struck by the Dodge.
The third vehicle struck by the pickup truck was a 2001 Chevrolet Blazer, driven by Leslie Evans, 52, of Waycross, Cox said. All three vehicles hit by the truck were on Pinehurst, stopped at a traffic light.
Wichman, at about 9:30 p.m., attempted to stop a silver 2005 Dodge Ram pickup truck traveling west on U.S. 84 for failure to maintain a lane, Blackshear Police Chief Chris Wright said. The pickup turned right onto Hacklebarney Road and slowed to a near-stop but then accelerated and zipped away.
Wichman pursued the vehicle as it turned back toward U.S. 84. The pickup then turned onto Golf Course Road, then onto Bonneyman Road and finally back to U.S. 84 toward Waycross, Wright said.
The occupants along the route tossed things out of the vehicle, and Blackshear police later located bags of a Schedule I drug, spice, Wright said. They were still searching this morning to see if anything else could be found.
The Dodge never drove faster than 60 mph, Wright said, and continued into Waycross. The truck was later identified as a rental vehicle that was reported stolen by an Isabella Street resident who said she returned home to find where someone had entered her residence through a side window Thursday night, apparently stealing the keys and then the pickup truck, said Rowell.
At 9:57 p.m., Ware County Sgt. John Walthour was notified by Pierce County 9-1-1 that Blackshear police were on U.S. 84 near Hacklebarney Road chasing a silver Dodge pickup truck toward Waycross, so he attempted to get to the Satilla River bridges to place spike sticks in the path of the suspect vehicle, said Ware County Sheriff Randy Royal.
But as the deputy was exiting his patrol car to deploy the device, the suspect vehicle passed headed into Waycross, Royal said. The deputy re-entered his car and joined the pursuit.
Walthour began to provide local communication between other deputies and Waycross police officers, Royal said. The sheriff explained, “Our (deputies) effort was to attempt to block intersections for the safety of other motorists.”
The chase proceeded toward the intersection of Plant with Morningside Drive and Pinehurst Drive where the pickup truck hit the three other vehicles that were stopped at the traffic signal, Royal said.
“Sgt. John Walthour witnessed three occupants of the suspect vehicle and one was arrested by Blackshear police,” Royal said. “Two others fled on foot in the direction of a convenience store and the Ombudsman center. We coordinated an effort to establish a search perimeter with the police. The search of the area for the suspects was unsuccessful.”
Waycross police Officer Chase DeLoach investigated the accident scene, Cox said.