Two Madison teens were arrested and charged with a host of violations after they allegedly led police on a wild chase that ended when a stolen car caught fire.
According to Madison Police Department reports, the incident began on Saturday, Sept. 3 at approximately 6:30 p.m. when off-duty officer Stacey Eaton observed a collision on Main Street in front of Main Street Pantry. When Eaton stopped to render aid, a person in the parking lot alerted Eaton that a Mazda involved in the wreck had just been stolen from the parking lot.
The Mazda was being followed by a red Ford Explorer that, reports state, police learned later had also been reported stolen.
Eaton alerted other officers, including deputies with the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office and troopers with the Georgia State Patrol that both vehicles were traveling south on South Main Street.
A National EMS employee then alerted officers that both vehicles had turned into Wildflower Way.
Reports state that Officer Blake Rowe was able to wedge his patrol vehicle behind the Mazda in the subdivision. However, reports state, the Mazda rammed Rowe’s patrol vehicle, knocking Rowe to the ground and injuring the officer.
The vehicle then fled, again tailed by the stolen Ford Explorer, which struck a red pickup truck in the subdivision. The Mazda struck a curb attempting to leave the subdivision and the juvenile driver jumped from the vehicle and climbed into the Ford.
The Explorer then turned west on Georgia Highway 278 toward Rutledge. While the Explorer was being chased on Highway 278, speeds reached over 100 mph. After more than a mile, flames started bursting from under the Explorer. The Ford tried to turn into a driveway but struck a fence instead and came to a stop.
The driver of the Ford, a 16-year-old male and a front seat passenger, another 16-year-old male, both jumped from the vehicle with their hands up and dropped to their knees. Both teens were held at gunpoint and handcuffed. The driver of the Ford Explorer, reports state, was dragged away from the vehicle “due to high flames coming out from under the vehicle,” reports state.
The backseat passenger, another 16-year-old male, was chased by Morgan County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Joshua Bishop and was detained.
The driver of the Mazda faces charges of hit and run, aggravated assault on a police officer and theft by taking. The driver of the Ford Explorer faces charges of fleeing and attempting to elude, speeding, reckless driving, hit and run, obstruction and theft by taking.
The front seat passenger in the Ford Explorer was released to his mother. The other two juveniles were transported to the Youth Detention Center in Wilkes County.
Officer Rowe was treated at Morgan Medical Center for injuries and released.