After an intensive manhunt a suspect who ran from police with a toddler following a head on collision that injured three people, including a Georgia State Patrol officer, was apprehended in Walthourville. He had abandoned his vehicle near Cedar Hill Mobile Home Park and fled on foot carrying his 2-year old son. Liberty County Sheriff Steve Sikes was shown on camera handing the child, who appeared unharmed, back to its mother.
The suspect, Ryan Ray Storts of Long County, was arrested on charges of obstructing or hindering law enforcement officers, fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer, and speeding in excess of maximum limits (State speed and zone limits). Storts is being held in the Liberty County Jail. Bond has not yet been set.
According to Trooper Shane Copeland with GSP Post 11, GSP Trooper Elmer Martin was the officer injured. He is currently in serious but stable condition at Memorial Hospital.
Multiple local law enforcement agencies assisted in the search and apprehension of Storts, including the GSP, DNR law enforcement, Liberty County Sheriff’s Office, Long County Sheriff’s Office, Walthourville Police Department and Hinesville Police Department. Sheriff Sikes also noted several law enforcement agencies outside our jurisdiction also assisted.
The other two people hurt in the head-on collision were identified as Ashley Bacon, 23, and Anecia Williams, 39, both of Wayne County, according to GSP Trooper John Snipe. Bacon was driving the other vehicle involved in the crash. Trooper Martin and one of the accident victims was taken by ambulance to Memorial Health in Savannah. The third victim was airlifted to Memorial Health.
The accident occurred shortly after 3 p.m. Thursday, according to Walthourville Fire Chief Anthony Burns. The accident occurred on Talmadge Road in Walthourville. The Walthourville Fire Department initially responded to the crash.
The accident stemmed from a traffic stop Trooper Martin was initiating on Talmadge road. Storts did not stop and a chase ensued. The Impala Vehicle was traveling in the opposite direction. When Stort’s vehicle allegedly failed to maintain lane it caused the trooper and the Impala to hit head on, according to earlier news reports.
According to GSP Trooper David Laff, when Trooper Martin was pursuing the suspect, Storts was allegedly driving 75 mph in a 45 mph on Talmadge Road. At one point, Storts entered Bacon's lane as she was traveling in the direction of Riceboro. In an attempt to avoid colliding with Storts, she entered Trooper Martin's lane. Martin was driving in the direction of Highway 84 when both vehicles hit head on.