Two Vidalia men died Friday night after a brief pursuit by a Laurens County sheriff’s deputy in which the fleeing vehicle crashed. A third person was in critical condition at a Macon hospital on Saturday.
The deputy had attempted to stop the fleeing vehicle using a Pursuit Intervention Technique (PIT), the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office posted on Facebook. The PIT maneuver is used by law enforcement to force a fleeing vehicle to turn sideways abruptly and stop.
The vehicle’s driver failed to yield for emergency equipment at a license checkpoint stop conducted by sheriff’s deputies and officers from other law enforcement agencies, which led to the pursuit onto Interstate 16, according to the post.
“During the pursuit, the driver exhibited extreme reckless behavior that put the motoring public at risk,” Sheriff Larry Dean said in the post. “My deputy performed the PIT maneuver to end the threat to others traveling on the roadway.”
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Dean noted that the driver put himself, his occupants, the deputy and other motorists in danger.
“My sympathy goes out to the families who are struggling with grief at this moment and the days ahead,” Dean said in post.
The driver, Tevin Lamar Page, 22, and passenger, Preston Alexander Coleman, 27, died later that night in the at Fairview Park Hospital in Dublin, said Laurens County Deputy Coroner Nathan Stanley. The other passenger was airlifted to the Medical Center, Navicent Health.
Autopsies are expected to be conducted at a GBI crime lab because a county-owned vehicle was involved, Stanley said.
The 8:47 p.m. crash happened at Mile Marker 61 eastbound on I-16, Stanley said.
The Georgia State Patrol is investigating the crash.