Valdosta man seriously injured in Florida wreck

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HAHIRA — One person is dead and two others injured after a crash ended a high-speed chase that crossed county lines Saturday, according to authorities.

The chase began with an automobile stolen in Columbus, Lowndes County Sheriff Ashley Paulk said.

Cook County deputies took up the chase after attempting a traffic stop as the car headed south on Interstate 75, Lowndes County Coroner Austin Fiveash said.

Lowndes County deputies got to work setting up spike strips but never engaged in pursuit, Paulk said. Law enforcement had ended the chase as the car crossed into Lowndes County, Fiveash said.

The car tried to get off Exit 29 in Hahira at nearly 150 miles per hour, Paulk said.

The car went airborne, rolled a couple of times and came to rest on the front of the Bigfoot Travel Center in Hahira, Fiveash said.

“He never slowed down,” Paulk said. “I can’t believe anyone would try to get off an exit at that speed … he went airborne and cleared a concrete barrier.”

A woman sitting on a bench in front of the travel center was injured, Paulk said.

There were two occupants in the car, the sheriff said. The passenger was killed; the driver, a 16-year-old male, was injured and life-flighted, Fiveash said.

The passenger has not been identified, and Fiveash asked anyone with information about him to call the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office (229) 671-2900 or the Georgia State Patrol, which is handling the investigation (229) 333-5215.

Terry Richards is senior reporter at The Valdosta Daily Times.

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