High-speed police pursuit ends in tragedy

by: Kerry Kavanaugh Updated:

DULUTH - A 28-year-old-man is dead after leading Duluth police on a high speed chase and veering into oncoming traffic, investigators said.

Jeremy Kelly of Flowery Branch was not wearing his seat belt last Saturday when he slammed head-on into an SUV, according to police. The female SUV driver suffered a broken leg.

The chase began on Pleasant Hill Road and reached speeds in excess of 100 mph, police said, before Kelly crossed over oncoming traffic, travelling north in the southbound lanes.

Police said he made several dangerous maneuvers and crashed violently on Peachtree Industrial Boulevard at Peachtree Crest Drive.

Duluth police said the incident started when a license-plate-reader unit detected that Kelly was driving a stolen car. Police said Kelly took off when police attempted to pull him over.

The chase was captured on dash-camera video and spanned an estimated 5 miles.

"As soon as he turns his lights on the car immediately fled from him," said Maj. Don Woodruff. "He tried to catch up to it, called for other units. They tried to get ahead of it so they could put up stop sticks. But unfortunately they were not able to get ahead of him because his speed was so excessive."

Duluth police, who have a duty to stop a fleeing driver, told Channel 2 Action News that the pursuing officer followed their department's protocol in chase procedures.

"He was creating the danger and we were trying to get him stopped," Woodruff said. "There are those who would say if we back off, they'll back off. There's really nothing to back that off. They have every incentive to get away if they think they can."

Channel 2 Action News

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