A tractor trailer truck stolen from Atlanta raced south on Interstate 75 on Tuesday with a bandit at the wheel and the rig’s rightful driver clinging to the back of its cab.
State troopers and deputies from several counties chased the truck all the way to Forsyth in a high-drama pursuit that was broadcast via TV-news choppers on national cable outlets.
The trailer-less red rig, its tires shredded, ground to a halt shortly after 3 p.m. just north of the Georgia Public Safety Training Center in Monroe County.
Milo Banks, 27, of Albany, is accused of carjacking the truck’s owner about an hour earlier at the Kroger in Union City, 4550 Jonesboro Road, according to authorities. He remained in custody at the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office on Tuesday evening.
“Apparently, Fulton County officers started chasing them ... and there was a man, a hostage, on the truck. And our officers did see a man hanging on the back of it, holding on to the air lines,” said Monroe sheriff’s Lt. Brad Freeman. “We tried to use some spike strips near the Monroe-Lamar county line, and I don’t know if it hit the spike strips or not.”
The truck was stopped about seven miles later, half a mile north of the Monroe weigh station, with its front tires gone.
“Just rims,” Freeman said. “The person on the back of the truck jumped off after it slowed down. ... I don’t know how he ended up on the back of his own rig. The suspect just kept driving with this guy on the back.”
The chase lasted about 20 minutes.
A Georgia State Patrol radio operator in Forsyth said the man was able to jump off after the rig slowed from about 45 miles per hour to about 10 miles hour.
A state trooper was shot in the arm during the incident.
“It was a flesh wound through the left arm,” the radio operator said. “Apparently, the bullet hit his bulletproof vest first but didn’t penetrate it.”
The GBI is investigating at what point the officer, who was not identified, sustained the injury. Authorities had used gunfire throughout the chase to try to slow the truck, the operator said.
Shots were fired in Butts County between mile markers 205 an 201, among other locations, he said.
Charges are pending against Banks in multiple jurisdictions, according to authorities.
Fulton County police were assisted by authorities in Henry, Spalding, Butts and Monroe counties.
Allison Selman-Willis, spokeswoman for the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, said the suspect will be returned to Fulton County.
“Charges are pending,” she said, “but I can only imagine that he will be charged with evading and eluding, resisting arrest, some sort of obstruction charge, of course, the car-jacking, and about 1,000 different traffic violations.”
To contact writer Ashley Tusan Joyner, call 744-4347. To contact writer Joe Kovac Jr., call 744-4397.