August 17, 2013

Chattanooga robbery suspect caught outside Dalton

Rachel Brown
rachelbrown@daltoncitizen.com

— A man suspected of robbing a nail salon in Chattanooga then leading officers on a high-speed chase down Interstate 75 in a stolen patrol vehicle apparently committed suicide when authorities caught up to him.

That’s according to information from the Georgia State Patrol and Whitfield County Sheriff’s Office. Officials said a prisoner also was riding in the stolen patrol car and was taken to the Whitfield County jail unharmed. No other injuries were reported, although at least one law enforcement vehicle was damaged as officers tried to stop the suspect.

Officers chased the driver down I-75 and made several unsuccessful attempts at using stop sticks to puncture the fleeing car’s tires. At times the chase involved speeds of 120 mph, going through Catoosa County and into Whitfield County. Dispatchers were alerting authorities in Gordon County in case he got that far.

The driver eventually got off at Exit 328 near Connector 3, then crashed through a fence near Rooms To Go, officials said. He finally stopped on North Dug Gap Road just past Marketing Alliance at about 7:30 p.m. as officers boxed him in. Once he stopped, he “apparently committed suicide,” according to a statement from the state patrol.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation was called in, as is standard procedure when someone dies in an incident involving officers. The GBI, Whitfield sheriff’s office and Chattanooga Police Department are all investigating.

The names of the driver and prisoner have not been released.