A two-county car chase that began in Baldwin County and ended in Washington County on Tuesday led to a drug suspect crashing before he was taken into custody by authorities.
During the 53-mile chase through the two counties, speeds reached more than 100 mph. Authorities also said the suspect was responsible for several near-collisions.
The suspect reportedly threw out a quantity of marijuana and crystal meth during the chase, and other assorted items such as scales, along with a loaded 9mm pistol.
The suspect was identified as 33-year-old Michael Norris, of the 900 block of East South Central Avenue, Tennille, according to an incident report filed by Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Kevin Veal.
Norris was charged with Violation of the Georgia Controlled Substances Act for possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, possession of drug-related objects, fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer, possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime, driving with a suspended license, three counts of failure to obey a traffic control device, three counts of reckless driving, three counts of failure to maintain lane, and one count of failure to stop at a stop sign.
The suspect, who is on JAG probation, also faces unspecified traffic-related offenses in Washington County.
During the chase in Washington County, Norris managed to elude capture by evading a roadblock that was set up by deputies with the Washington County Sheriff’s Office.
Eventually arrested in Washington County, Norris was later taken by to Baldwin County where a traffic stop was attempted and the chase originated. He remains incarcerated in the Baldwin County Law Enforcement Center.
Ocmulgee Drug Task Force Commander Wesley Nunn said a little more than 26 grams of marijuana were seized. He said the estimated street value of that amount of marijuana was $2,000.
Nunn said he took out the drug warrants and gun violation warrant against Norris through Ocmulgee Judicial Circuit Superior Court Judge Amanda S. Petty.
Veal said in his report that he spotted Norris driving a car southbound along North Columbia Street shortly after 10 a.m. Tuesday. The deputy said the car appeared to have an illegal window tint covering both the driver and passenger side windows.
The deputy said he checked the license plate on the vehicle while he followed the car and later learned the driver had multiple suspensions. Veal said he then matched the photograph that was provided to him through the Georgia Crime Information Center (GCIC) and that he determined the driver was the same person.
Veal said he managed to stop the driver of the car at Fieldstone Drive, directly beside Cypress Corners, and that as soon as he stepped out of his patrol car, Norris fled the traffic stop, thus starting a pursuit of the suspect.
The deputy said he turned on his blue lights and siren in an attempt to get the driver of the car to stop, but he kept traveling along North Columbia Street.
The suspect later made a left turn onto Garrett Way.
“I observed Norris weaving in and out of traffic at a high rate of speed,” Veal said. “When approaching the intersection of Garrett Way and North Columbia Street, Norris again failed to use the vehicle’s turn signal, while simultaneously running the red light.”
The deputy said he told a 911 dispatcher that the suspect was headed south along North Columbia Street.
“It should be noted that Norris was driving aggressive, weaving in and out of traffic on North Columbia Street at a high rate of speed, and failing to maintain a single lane,” Veal said in his report.
The suspect later made a left turn onto Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive and then made a right turn onto North Jefferson Street. Again, the suspect failed to use a turn signal. The suspect later ran the red light or traffic control device at the intersection of Montgomery and North Jefferson streets.
Norris made a left turn onto East Hancock Street and nearly caused a couple of separate auto accidents, Veal said.
The deputy said he later saw Norris weaving in and out of traffic before he headed east onto Ga. Route 22.
Again, Norris failed to stop for the red light at the intersection of Ga. Route 22 and Kings Road.
Veal said Norris’ speed exceeded 100 mph at that time in the chase and that Norris drove on the opposite side of the roadway numerous times while traveling along Ga. Route 22.
Norris later turned sharply onto Georgia Route 24 and later onto Deepstep Road.
While traveling along Deepstep Road, Veal said Norris continued to drive recklessly and weaved in and out of traffic.
Veal said his supervisors later informed the Washington County Sheriff’s Office about the chase heading into their county.
“Immediately after passing the Washington County line, I observed Norris tossing a black bookbag and a Mason jar out the passenger side window,” Veal said, noting he also saw scales being thrown out of the car, too. “I observed a large amount of a crystal-like substance, believed to be methamphetamine, landing on the grass area beside the roadway of Deepstep Road.”
Deputy Sgt. Lee Kitchens retrieved the black book bag.
Veal said he was assisted in the chase by Kitchens along with Deputy Ray Mosley.
Norris failed to stop at a roadblock that had been set up by deputies with the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, and a short time later he wrecked. He was taken into custody and turned over to Baldwin County deputies.