Jasper fire crews extinguish flames from a car that crashed near the Hwy515/53 intersection Monday, after the driver fled from a Ga. State Trooper. The driver was charged with DUI among other offenses.
A Ga. State Patrol chase of a Canton man driving wildly on a crowded portion of Highway 515 Monday ended with the fleeing driver crashing into a stopped trailer at the Highway 53 intersection.
According to Ga. State Patrol reports, a trooper spotted the driver in a Ford Focus travelling at a high rate of speed and changing lanes recklessly with no signals.
Ga. State Patrol Post Commander Tim Nichols said they began a pursuit northbound near the hospital and when the fleeing driver, Thomas Austin Free, 41, of Canton, reached a congested area at Camp Road, he went into the median and kept going until he struck a trailer behind a stopped vehicle near the Highway 53 intersection.
Nichols said the Ford Focus caught on fire at impact but no one was seriously injured. It was quickly contained by Jasper fire fighters.
The suspect came out of the vehicle, ignoring verbal commands, “aggressively approaching” a Pickens deputy, said Nichols. The deputy deployed his taser unsuccessfully, according to the GSP report. Free continued aggressively coming towards the officers, when a trooper successfully deployed his taser and they were able to take Free into custody without further incident.
Nichols said the driver is suspected of “being under the influence of at least alcohol.”
According to book-in reports, Free was charged with numerous traffic offenses including driving in a median, reckless driving, and DUI.
The wreck and fire caused the southbound lane of Highway 515 to be shut down temporarily. Free remained in Pickens jail on Tuesday awaiting bond.