Fleeing SUV ‘did like a barrel roll,’ state trooper says of fatal crash after PIT maneuver

As the Georgia State Patrol enters two investigations into a crash that killed a Swainsboro woman on Interstate 75, Sgt. Robbie Roberson has plenty of questions.

He spent much of Friday gathering videos taken Thursday afternoon as Perry police and a state trooper tried to stop the driver speeding in a white 2004 Ford Excursion.

“It’s not one you want to be in going 100 mph down the interstate,” Roberson remarked of the large SUV.

The trooper, whose name was not immediately released, performed a PIT maneuver to stop 45-year-old Pamela Theobold, who had refused to pull over for Perry police at about 1:45 p.m.

Officers pursuing her knew 911 had gotten an earlier call about her alarming behavior reported at the old Ford dealership on Sam Nunn Boulevard.

The Georgia State Patrol was called to assist, Roberson said.

The maneuver sent Theobold’s vehicle into the outer guardrail near the Byron exit at Ga. 49 in Peach County.

“It did like a barrel roll and that momentum propelled her out,” Roberson said.

Peach County Coroner Kerry Rooks said Theobold suffered severe head injuries and died at Medical Center, Navicent Health, just before 5:30 p.m.

Roberson did not know whether she was wearing her seatbelt, but does not think so, judging by what he’s seen before.

The GSP’s Specialized Collision Reconstruction team will examine all aspects of the crash, including analyzing the car’s computer, which can determine whether the belt was engaged, he said.

“It can be as detailed as to what radio station she had on,” he said.

An internal affairs investigation also is underway, which is normal procedure when a serious injury or death is involved in the use of the PIT maneuver, which is used to stop a vehicle believed to be endangering others on the highway.

“He did an outstanding job, in the safest place,” Roberson said of the trooper’s efforts.

The passenger compartment of the SUV did not appear to be seriously compromised in photographs taken at the scene.

Roberson said he had not yet talked to Perry police to determine why Theobold ran from authorities, or where she was headed.

“I don’t know why the lady was in Perry.”

Liz Fabian: 478-744-4303, @liz_lines