McCaysville, Ga – High-speed chase that crossed state lines and reached speeds of 100+ mph and narrowly avoided bystander causalities ended in Shell and Dunkin Donuts parking lot.
Augustine Santiago, 51, sped down Blue Ridge Dr. in McCaysville when Officers Cory Collogen and Bill Higdon spotted him and began pursuit.
It’s unclear why Santiago was driving recklessly as no evidence of drugs or alcohol appeared at the scene. He was operating a vehicle with a suspended license, however.
Santiago, driving a tan Ford F150, picked up speed once Collogen and Higdon began their pursuit of the suspect.
To elude officers, Santiago plowed through his first of several intersections on West Tennessee Street. Collogen and
Higdon turned on their sirens and blue lights at this point before Santiago ran another light onto Ocoee St. in Copperhill and narrowly missed a White Jeep. He also disregarded the safety of pedestrians on the street and sidewalks.
Officers contacted Police Chief Michael Earley to obtain permission to continue pursuit across state and county lines as Santiago turned West onto Belltown Road. They pursued at speeds between 45 to 65 mph along Belltown and Airport Road.
Santiago failed to stop at any of the signs on Belltown, Airport, Pleasant Hill, and Wolfcreek Road. He continually weaved across lanes and drove down the center. Sometime during this point of the chase, officers moved in and obtained tag information to relay to dispatch.
Once reaching Hwy. 64 going toward Murphy, the suspect reached speeds of over 100 mph and periodically lost control of the vehicle before regaining control.
Cherokee County Sheriff’s Deputy Struchko and officer Dockery joined in the pursuit as Santiago blew through the Hwy. 19/129 intersection. Struchko took control of the chase at the Splash and Dash Car Wash, and Dockery deployed stop stick at the BB&T bank.
Struchko followed Santiago in the eastbound lane at speeds of 80 mph.
Santiago hit the stop sticks in front of BB&T. He lost control of the vehicle due to his two flat front tires. He veered into the Shell and Dunkin Donuts parking lot, just missing a red jeep in the Dunkin drive-thru.
After exiting his vehicle, Santiago attempted to flee on foot. Struchko drew his weapon and commanded Santiago to stop and lie on the ground. He obeyed, and McCaysville Officer Higdon handcuffed him at 8:51 p.m.
Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office took Santiago in for attempting to elude police, reckless driving, and driving with a suspended license. His bond is set at $5,000 and is awaiting a court date.
A high speed chase in downtown Blue Ridge ended with a disabled car on Sunday night, August 9th. An unidentified driver was attempting to flee from police out of Gilmer County when he crossed over into Fannin.
FetchYourNews.com spoke with CPL Michael Green, of the Blue Ridge City Police Department, regarding the chase. Green told us he, along with the Georgia State Patrol, pursued the dark colored Honda Civic from around LL Beanery to West Main Street to Mountain Street and downtown by the local gym. The Honda, driven by an unknown person at this time, was forced by officers to jump a small grass bank which damaged the vehicle. The chase continued and Green told us, “I ran into heavy oil around Mountain BBQ which almost made me lose control.”
The driver, attempting to flee, was losing so much oil he created a safety hazard for Green and also the Georgia State Patrol that was also in pursuit. After hitting the oil the Georgia State Trooper took over the chase and they both continued in pursuit until they lost the vehicle in the vicinity of the Fannin Middle School. The vehicle was found on the next driveway past the school, damaged and the driver had fled.
According to authorities the perpetrator was apprehended on Monday, August 10th by Fannin County Sheriff’s Office in the area around Harmony Church, still in Fannin County. It is believed the driver is from Murray county but that is uncertain at this time. FYN will update as more information becomes available. No one was injured in the incident.