What should’ve been a simple Wednesday afternoon traffic stop on I-75 turned into a 10-mile chase and ended with an exchange of gunfire, a wounded state trooper, a dead suspect and thousands of Cobb County motorists caught in the traffic-clogging aftermath.
Georgia State Patrol spokesman Capt. Mark Perry said the incident, which blocked I-75 south at South Marietta Parkway for hours, began shortly after 3:30 p.m. when Trooper Jacob Fields, a three-year veteran of the force, attempted to stop a speeding Chevrolet Silverado. The pickup truck, which had allegedly been clocked going 98 miles per hour, continued down I-75 and Fields followed.
The chase continued until Delk Road, where Fields and two other troopers attempted to stop the Silverado with a boxed-in maneuver, Perry said. The truck finally came to a stop after rear-ending a civilian driver.
“At that point,” Perry said, the driver of the Silverado “comes out of the vehicle, he has a weapon, shots are exchanged.”
Authorities said the truck’s driver, 26-year-old Acworth resident Israel Vladimir Rodriguez, shot first and troopers returned fire. Fields, who serves out of Marietta’s Post No. 9, was shot in the leg and the lower abdomen, just below his bulletproof vest. Both men were taken to WellStar Kennestone Hospital.
Fields was “alert,” “conscious,” and “talking” with his family Wednesday evening, Perry said. The trooper will likely to remain at the hospital for another two or three days but is expected to fully recover, authorities said.
Rodriguez underwent surgery upon arrival at the hospital but died around 10:30 p.m., Georgia Bureau of Investigation spokesman Scott Dutton said. The GBI is investigating the shooting.
In addition to Fields, two other troopers fired shots and are on standard administrative leave, Perry said.
Traffic on I-75 southbound was snarled for more than six hours hours after the incident. One lane of the interstate opened by 7 p.m., but full traffic was not restored until around 10:30 p.m.