An Athens man was found dead in Tallulah River Monday after he allegedly fled from a traffic stop earlier in the day in Rabun County.
According to Lt. W. Mark Riley, public information director with the Georgia Department of Public Safety, at 7:58 a.m., a Georgia State Patrol trooper stopped a vehicle for speeding on GA 15 near Lofty Branch Road in Rabun County. The trooper reportedly smelled marijuana from inside the vehicle.
At the time of the traffic stop, the trooper contacted the Rabun County Sheriff's Office for help. While the trooper was waiting, they asked the woman who was driving the vehicle to exit the vehicle. After she got out, the male passenger, Lazavier Shamar Cook, 32, moved to the driver's seat and fled the traffic stop.
The trooper pursued the vehicle south on GA 15. While Cook was fleeing, he allegedly threw multiple packages from the vehicle. Lt. Riley said the drugs are suspected to have contained drugs.
Lt. Riley said the trooper conducted a PIT maneuver, at which time Cook's vehicle struck an embankment and then struck the trooper's patrol car before coming to a stop.
Cook allegedly got out of the vehicle and fled the scene on foot. He was last spotted in Tallulah River. Just before 4:30 p.m., his body was found in the river and recovered.
Several agencies were involved in the incident, including the Georgia State Patrol, Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Rabun County Sheriff's Office, Tallulah Falls Police and Rabun County EMA.