HOMER - A fleeing vehicle driven by a Commerce woman slammed into a truck driven by a Royston man on U.S. Highway 441 early Sunday, resulting in serious injuries to him and to herself.
According to Sgt. Carissa McFaddin of Banks County Sheriff's Office, deputies responded to a report of an intoxicated driver occupying a grey 2009 Dodge Challenger in the Banks Crossing area about 12:38 a.m. Sunday.
The vehicle left the area of Applebee's and then deputies saw it leave RaceTrac, McFaddin said.
Deputies observed the car strike a curb, sending it airborne as it entered the parking lot of Northeast Georgia Bank. Deputies attempted to stop the car, but the driver accelerated and the vehicle traveled out of the parking lot and continued south on 441 (Georgia 15) with officers behind.
"The actual pursuit itself only lasted a little over a minute," McFaddin said Tuesday.
The fleeing driver, later identified as 53-year-old Tammy Ruth Hannah of Commerce, turned off the vehicle's lights as it traveled at a high rate of speed, McFaddin said.
"The driver exceeded speeds over 100 mph down 441 into Jackson County," McFaddin said.
Hannah's car traveled into the grass median, struck a metal sign post, continued traveling southbound and traveled into the northbound lanes of 441, a GSP spokesman said.
Hannah's car continued across the left northbound lane into the right northbound lane, striking a 2000 Ford Ranger driven by 30-year-old Joshua Adam Harper of Royston, the spokesman said.
Impact occurred at 12:52 p.m. 0.1 mile south of Georgia Highway 98, the GSP spokesman said.
Harper, who was wearing a shoulder and lap belt, was trapped and had to be extricated. He suffered incapacitating lower extremity injuries, and was taken by Jackson County ambulance to Athens Regional Medical Center, the GSP spokesman said.
Harper's passenger, 36-year-old Jason Pierce Kristopher of Commerce, suffered non-incapacitating facial injuries. Kristopher, who was wearing a lap and shoulder belt, was taken by Jackson County ambulance to Athens Regional Medical Center, according to the GSP spokesman.
Hannah, who was trapped and had to be extricated from the wreckage, suffered incapacitating lower extremity injuries and was taken by Jackson County ambulance to Athens Regional Medical Center, the GSP spokesman said.
Hannah is charged by the Banks County Sheriff's Office with fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer; reckless driving; failure to maintain lane; and driving under the influence of alcohol, McFaddin said.
The Georgia State Patrol charged Hannah with reckless driving; fleeing and attempting to elude; serious injury by vehicle; DUI less safe; driving on the wrong side of the roadway; failure to maintain lane; and a headlight violation, the spokesman said.
"Hannah's blood alcohol level is also pending through state testing," McFaddin said.