UPDATE: 10-mile chase exceeded 100 MPH before crash

(photo courtesy Red Bird Media)

A driver attempting to flee a Habersham County deputy late Tuesday night led the officer on a high-speed chase from Clarkesville to Cornelia. The chase ended after the deputy used a PIT maneuver that caused the suspect vehicle to crash, seriously injuring a passenger.

According to the Georgia State Patrol, around 11:45 p.m., a Habersham County Sheriff’s deputy was pursuing a Volkswagen Jetta south on U.S. 441. The deputy performed a PIT maneuver to get the suspect to stop. That caused the vehicle to spin out on the roadway in the center turn lane. The driver of the Jetta then attempted to flee again.

Amber Wade (HCSO)

“Within 1500 feet, Deputy Holcomb performed a second PIT on the vehicle, to which the Jetta traveled off the roadway to the right and struck a power pole,” the State Patrol report states. The crash’s impact caused the traffic signals to fall at the intersection of U.S. 441 Business and J Warren Road.

The driver of the car, 29-year-old Amber Wade of Demorest, sustained minor injuries. The wreck seriously injured her passenger, 24-year-old Katherine Elrod of Clarkesville. Habersham EMS transported them to Northeast Georgia Medical Center in Gainesville.

High-speed chase ran for 10 miles

According to information released late Wednesday morning by the Habersham County Sheriff’s Office, the pursuit began near Clarkesville when the patrol deputy observed the Volkswagen sitting on Zeb Bryson Road.

“As the deputy’s patrol car got closer, the Volkswagen began to move,” the release states. The deputy initiated a traffic stop after the Volkswagen rolled through a stop sign and crossed into the oncoming lane of traffic.

The Georgia State Patrol says a Habersham County Sheriff’s deputy performed two PIT maneuvers to get a fleeing vehicle to stop. The vehicle wound up crashing into a power pole. (photo by Red Bird Media)

An approximate 10-mile long high-speed chase ensued with speeds reaching in excess of 100 mph. At some point, Cornelia Police got involved in the chase. After the crash, the sheriff’s office says deputies discovered a quantity of suspected drugs, drug paraphernalia, and a large sum of cash in the vehicle.

HCSO called in agents from the Appalachian Regional Drug Enforcement Office to assist with the drug investigation.

State Troopers charged Wade with DUI and serious injury by vehicle. Habersham deputies charged her with one count of reckless driving and fleeing and attempting to elude an officer.

Wade was later booked into the Habersham County Detention Center. Early Monday afternoon she remained behind bars on a $1500 bond, online jail records show. Kogod says more charges may be filed in the case.

The section of U.S. 441 at the crash site was temporarily closed as Georgia Department of Transportation crews worked to repair the damaged traffic signals.

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