Gwinnett County

Car chase suspect leaves behind device that caused neighborhood evacuation

GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. — Police bodycam video shows where a chase ended in a local neighborhood -- but that led to another concern.

The suspect got away, but he left behind a device that startled everyone.

Duluth police officer Ted Sadowski said the scare began over the weekend after an officer noticed a car in front of him with a plate that didn't match.

The driver took off and dashcam video showed the car darting into a neighborhood off Summit Ridge Parkway.

After someone dove out the passenger window, police approached cautiously, then realized that it was the driver, identified as Johnny Pich. He escaped but cops then looked in the car and spotted what looked like wires and a grenade.

“We didn't know if that would go off, if there was more grenades or more explosives in the trunk so we didn't know what we were dealing with,” Sadowski said.

Officers then went door-to-door to homes near the car to evacuate everyone inside.


Duluth police woke residents on Thayer Trace up in the middle of the night.

“They said a car had an accident out here and there's a grenade in the car,” Trace said.

“Every chase no matter where it is is inherently dangerous,” Sadowski said.

But this threw in an extra wrinkle.

Police evacuated the homes and called the bomb squad only to find out the grenade was a fake, but modified to look like the real deal.

Police said they also found meth and a gun in the car.

Officers are still searching for Pich and find out what was up with the look-alike grenade.

“He's still outstanding so we can't ask him why he had a grenade,” Sadowski said.

Once caught, Pich faces a long list of charges -- including everything from having a hoax device to running from police.