by: Tony Thomas Updated:
A suspected drunken driver is in custody after leading state troopers and Gwinnett County authorities on a two-county chase that caused at least two wrecks.
A Georgia State Patrol sergeant said the chase began Sunday when the suspect did a U-turn to try and avoid a road check just off Peachtree Industrial Boulevard in Buford.
Authorities said the man they've yet to identify stopped briefly in a Chevron gas station parking lot, but then sped off.
Station owner Muhammad Rahman watched it from behind his counter.
"It was too much action for Buford," Rahman said. "He went by maybe a hundred miles an hour here and there's a railroad track and he was airborne and barely missed the lady."
Rahman said the woman whose car was almost hit then stopped at his store, very shaken and wondering what was going on.
Troopers said that was just the first close call in a chase, which covered several miles and went into Hall County.
GSP Sgt. James Warren said the suspected drunken driver was, "Making U-turns, driving on the wrong side of the road, running red lights -- the whole shootin' match," as troopers and Gwinnett County sheriff's deputies gave chase.
As the chase neared Friendship Road in Hall County, the first trooper in line tried a PIT maneuver to end the chase, but instead wound up rolling his car over.
"The subject vehicle rammed the trooper as he was setting up to do it causing the trooper to lose control," Warren said.
The trooper survived the crash with only a couple of scratches and encouraged his fellow officers to continue the chase. They did, but only for a few hundred yards where the suspect crashed into oncoming traffic.
Authorities said the driver hit a van carrying six people, including a pregnant woman. She was injured and taken to Northeast Georgia Medical Center for treatment.
Her condition has not been released.
Troopers did not identify the driver, but said he was taken to Gwinnett Medical Center and will later be taken to the Gwinnett County Jail.