A Lawrenceville man remains in jail after allegedly leading authorities on a high-speed chase that ended in a fiery crash on Interstate 85 and left several occupants, including a child, trapped inside the burning vehicle.
Mario Dewayne Anderson, 31, faces a number of felony charges including fleeing, DUI endangering a child, open container, reckless driving and driving on the wrong side of the roadway.
The incident occurred just before midnight on Saturday when Trooper Lindsey Barber was running radar near mile marker 38. After clocking a red Fiat 500 traveling 118 mph, she attempted to pull the car over, according to Sgt. Katie Thompson with the Georgia State Patrol.
"I'm sure it terrified the kids in the car and everybody they were coming at," Thompson told The Associated Press.
The driver, identified as Anderson, continued traveling northbound on I-85 where he got off at Exit 41, ran a red light, turned left on U.S. Hwy. 27 and then re-entered the interstate from the southbound exit lane, according to Thompson.
The pursuit continued into oncoming traffic on I-85 as the Fiat traveled northbound in the southbound emergency lane, but as the driver approached a construction zone, the car struck a concrete barrier on the front passenger side of the Fiat, Thompson said.
After striking the barrier, the Fiat rotated into the travel lane where it was allegedly struck in the rear passenger side by an F-150 pickup truck.
Following the impact from the truck, the Fiat traveled off the west shoulder of the road, struck a guardrail and came to rest in the emergency lane, facing north. Once the car came to a stop, the car caught on fire with three occupants still inside the car, Thompson said.
Trooper Barber was able to extinguish the fire using two extinguishers, which allowed the two trapped passengers to be extricated safely.
"When I got there ... it was still smoking," Thompson said.
Three of the children involved in the wreck sustained various injuries including broken limbs, along with head and internal injuries, Thompson said. The children, ages 8, 10 and 11, were wearing seatbelts at the time of the accident and were taken by ambulance to Egleston Children’s Hospital in Atlanta.
The front seat passenger of the car suffered severe head trauma, a broken leg and pelvis, according to Thompson. She was airlifted to Grady Memorial Hospital.
The driver of the F-150 pickup truck was not injured, according to Thompson.
Anderson was taken into custody without incident. He allegedly refused medical treatment but was taken to Piedmont Newnan to be cleared before being transported to Coweta County Jail.
The interstate remained closed for two hours.
Anderson is charged with fleeing/attempting to elude police, passing on shoulder, open container, impeding the flow of traffic, serious injury by vehicle, three counts of DUI endangering a child, driving with a suspended license, aggressive driving, three counts of serious injury by vehicle, driver to use due care, failure to maintain lane, driving on the wrong side of the roadway, running a red light, improper turn, and speeding.
Clay Neely: firstname.lastname@example.org, @clayneely