High-speed chase in four counties ends in Warner Robins when suspect crashes

bpurser@macon.comFebruary 6, 2013 

WARNER ROBINS -- A high-speed chase that began Wednesday morning in Lamar County ended when the suspect ran a red light and crashed into two other vehicles on Watson Boulevard in front of Wendy’s near the Houston County Galleria, authorities said.

Suspect Jeremy Deonte Haugabook, 26, of Stockbridge, was taken to The Medical Center of Central Georgia after a brief foot chase, said Georgia State Patrol Sgt. Crystal Griffin.

Shirley Wingler, 68, of Fort Valley, and Nile Wingler, 73, of Freeport, Fla., were in a car that was T-boned by Haugabook when he ran the red light at Watson Boulevard and Galleria Mall Drive, Griffin said. Both also were taken to the Medical Center.

All were listed in stable condition, a hospital spokeswoman said.

Derek Floyd, 30, of Warner Robins, the driver of a pickup truck also involved in the crash, and his passenger David Robinson, 35, of Bonaire, were not injured, Griffin said.

Haugabook, who was speeding east down Watson Boulevard from pursuing Monroe County sheriff’s deputies, first struck the car Shirley Wingler was driving and then ran into the front of the truck driven by Floyd.

Wingler, who had come from Target and was on Galleria Mall Drive that crosses Watson Boulevard, was turning west onto Watson, and Floyd, who was traveling west on Watson, was turning toward Target when Haugabook blew through the red light, Griffin said.

Georgia State Patrol charged Haugabook with reckless driving, running a red light and driving on a suspended or expired license, Griffin said. The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office is charging Haugabook with possession of marijuana and suspected cocaine, fleeing and attempting to elude, driving on a suspended license, speeding, passing in the emergency lane, reckless driving, leaving the scene of an accident with injuries and driving on a suspended license, according to a news release.

Speeds reached 120 miles per hour, said Allison Selman-Willis, public information officer for the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office.

Tangy Trawick, who works at Wendy’s, said a woman, later identified as Wingler, had to be cut from her car by emergency personnel.

Darin Cummings, district manager for Wendy’s, said he didn’t see the crash itself but saw the aftermath and the suspect, later identified as Haugabook, run across Watson Boulevard and jump into a Goodwill donation trailer in the mall parking lot in an attempt to hide.

“We were yelling, ‘There he is,’ ’’ Cummings said he and other employees shouted to deputies. “ ‘Get him!’ ”

Selman-Willis said Monroe County deputies assumed the lead in the chase that originated in Lamar County after the pursuing Lamar County sheriff’s deputy vehicle got a flat tire near Hartley Bridge Road in Macon.

Bibb County deputies tried to puncture the vehicle’s tires using stop sticks but were unsuccessful, a news release states.

The chase came through Monroe County about 10 a.m. on Interstate 75, said Selman-Willis. Haugabook turned off the interstate onto the Ga. 247 Connector, also known as Watson Boulevard. Deputies stopped pursuing the car due to the traffic on Watson. When the car crashed, it shut down Watson Boulevard from S. Houston Lake Road to Margie Drive for more than an hour.

Evelyn Durst, 64, of Warner Robins, was traveling down Watson Boulevard headed to Kroger to do some grocery shopping when she became snarled in traffic.

“I’ve never seen so many police lights in my life,” Durst said.

To contact writer Becky Purser, call 256-9559.

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