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Teens lead officers on high-speed chase

Injuries, damage result

POSTED: November 29, 2008 5:00 a.m.
LUDOWICI — An officer’s attempt to cite someone for night hunting in Long County turned into a high-speed chase through a large portion of the county.
According to Georgia Department of Natural Resources Officer Bobby White, he  received reports of possible night hunting on Rye Patch Road.  Last Friday at about 10 p.m. as White investigated the allegations, he said he saw a pickup that appeared to be creeping down the road while someone inside the vehicle shined a high-beam light into the woods.
White pulled behind the red 2006 Chevrolet pickup and turned on his blue lights, at which time he said the pickup sped up and drove in the direction of Highway 301. White requested backup from the Long County Sheriff’s Department and a deputy was dispatched to assist.
As the pickup raced down Highway 301 toward Ludowici, White said it was difficult for him to keep up.
A radio operator told White that LCSD Deputy Shane Middleton was on Highway 301, north of Jones Creek Church,  laying “stop sticks” across the road to deflate the pickup’s tires and stop it from entering Ludowici.
Middleton said that as the vehicle approached the sticks, it appeared to be going more than 100 mph. When the truck hit the sticks, three tires deflated, but Middleton said the pickup’s driver continued toward Ludowici, eventually losing all three flat tires.  
Middleton pursued the pickup, which he said was still moving very quickly, causing the driver to nearly lose control several times and run a passing vehicle off the road.
He notified the Ludowici Police Department the vehicle was  heading for the city.
According to LPD Investigator Sal Genualdi, he and Officer Luis Perez secured the intersection of Highway 84 and High 301, moving people out of the way and stopping traffic.
Genualdi said the pickup approached the secured area, but made a right onto Main Street.  
Genualdi said  he drew his pistol and fired one shot at the truck’s only remaining tire to disable it, but the pickup continued into Ludowici until White and Middleton pinned it in.
Middleton said after the vehicle was stopped, the driver attempted to escape by ramming his pickup into White’s and Middleton’s cruisers, but Middleton pulled the driver from the truck.
The driver, 16, was detained along with another 16-year-old and a third person, 19-year-old Chris-topher Aaron Tilley of Ludowici.
The driver was charged with fleeing and attempting to elude police, a felony, three counts of aggravated assault on a peace officer, felonies, and speeding in excess of maximum limits.
White said all three people in the pickup were charged with illegally hunting deer at night, illegally hunting deer from a vehicle and illegally hunting deer from a public road.
LCSD Sheriff Cecil Nobles said Middleton injured his left wrist and finger during the incident, and both sheriff’s department vehicles were damaged. Middleton’s car needs an estimated $10,000 in repair work.
“I’m thankful no one was hurt, and it’s a miracle that no one was,”  Nobles said.
 

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