Drugs involved in car chase on I-85

by Wes Mayer

Three people were arrested following a high-speed chase Tuesday that began in Grantville and ended north of LaGrange.

Around 8:40 p.m., Officer Timothy Nixon with the Grantville Police Department noticed a vehicle traveling at least 90 mph southbound on I-85. According to Nixon, when the vehicle passed him he clocked it on the radar going 93 mph in a 70 mph zone. There were four occupants in the vehicle, a dark gray Kia Borrego with a North Carolina license plate.

When Nixon caught up to the vehicle and activated his emergency lights, the driver quickly changed lanes and sped up – thus beginning a lengthy car chase. Speeds reached nearly 120 mph on the interstate, and the driver began to recklessly change lanes to pass other vehicles with no regard for the safety of other drivers, Nixon said.

The Kia then turned off the interstate on exit 28 in Hogansville, Nixon said, and at the stop sign at the end of the exit, the driver passed a stopped vehicle by driving off the right side of the road – not stopping at the stop sign. The driver continued to increase speeds to around 90 mph and turned right onto Highway 54 heading into downtown Hogansville.

Nixon said, at this point, he noticed the front passenger waving his hands out the window like he was arguing with the driver and trying to get him to stop.

Because the driver was continuing to pass vehicles without regard for anyone else’s safety – by traveling both off the road and into oncoming traffic – Nixon advised he was going to attempt to ram the vehicle when no other motorists were nearby. Nixon attempted this at the intersection of Highway 54 and East Boyd Road, but the driver regained control and headed into downtown Hogansville at speeds around 80 mph.

In Hogansville, the driver made a left onto U.S. Highway 29, failing to stop at a red traffic light, Nixon said, and the chase continued southbound toward LaGrange at speeds of around 110 mph. At this time, dispatchers advised Nixon that Troup County Sheriff’s Office units deployed stop sticks – tire deflation devices – on U.S. 29 near the city limits and Whitfield Road and Willowood Road.

The driver of the Kia drove over these stop sticks with both tires on the driver’s side, and the front left tire was soon shooting out sparks from where the rim was hitting the road, Nixon said. The driver still continued to speed on U.S. 29, but suddenly attempted to make a left onto Bell Road.

Here, the driver lost control, hit his brakes and slid into a ditch off the road. Nixon said when he saw this, he braked, slid into the ditch and collided with the Kia’s rear bumper, pushing the Kia into a tree on the front passenger’s side.

The driver was not finished fleeing yet, though, and he jumped out of the vehicle and fled on foot southbound into the woods. Nixon said he and Grantville Officer Tad Masuoka began chasing the driver, but Nixon then fell back to check on the three passengers. When Nixon returned, the three were just exiting the vehicle, and he advised them to get on the ground where they were placed in handcuffs. Troup County units arrived for assistance and the K-9 units from both the Grantville Police Department and Troup County Sheriff’s Office were called to search for the driver.

Nixon and Masuoka, who had returned from the foot chase, began searching the Kia, and they found a clear plastic bag on near the driver’s door with suspected crack cocaine. The two officers could also smell raw marijuana in the car, Nixon said, but they only found some small, red plastic bags. Officials at 911 ran the identification number of the vehicle and found it was reported stolen out of Columbus in March.

The three passengers were identified as Derius Irby, 23, Joshua Irby, 21, and Dernadria Gosha, 20. Because all three were involved in an accident, American Medical Response ambulance units were called to the scene to transport them to West Georgia Medical Center.

At the hospital, Nixon and Masuoka spoke with the passengers and learned each of them only knew the driver as “Waab,” and they were only paying the driver $100 to pick them up in Gwinnett County to take them home in Columbus. According to Nixon, Joshua Irby did not want to give information about “Waab,” and Darius Irby said he was the one waving his arms trying to get “Waab” to stop. The woman did not know anything about him.

Masuoka then contacted the Muscogee County Jail and asked if they had records of any inmate with the street name of “Waab” – it turns out “Waab” had been in the Muscogee County Jail, and his name was Travis Terrell Thomas, 26. Nixon said the jail sent a booking photo of Thomas, and positively identified him as the driver.

Officers ran the three passengers and Thomas into the Georgia Crime Information Center and found both Derius and Joshua Irby were wanted by the Columbus Police Department for violation of probation, and Thomas was wanted for possession of cocaine with intent to distribute and violation of probation. The woman did not have any warrants or holds, so she was released.

Derois and Joshua Irby were transported to the Coweta County Jail after they were released from the hospital, and warrants were issued for Thomas.

Thomas was arrested by Troup County authorities on Wednesday and transported to Coweta County on charges of speeding, fleeing and attempting to elude officer, obstruction of officers, possession of narcotics with intent to distribute and theft by receiving stolen property.



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