What began as an attempted fugitive arrest in southwest Fulton County ended Wednesday afternoon with police chase, a wreck and a SWAT manhunt near Mableton.
Shortly after 1 p.m., the Fulton County police fugitive squad identified Ronald Forest Hightower, 28, who was wanted for a number of armed robberies along Fulton Industrial Boulevard.
The suspect fled the location in where he was spotted, in the 300 block of Six Flags Drive in Austell, in a red Dodge Durango, police spokeswoman Cpl. Kay Lester said.
“We are questioning him at this time,” Lester said. “A pursuit ensued and we were able to locate and successfully apprehend the individual.”
Hightower led police on a chase through Lithia Springs and into south Cobb, eventually driving along Veterans Memorial Parkway, authorities said.
They followed him from Six Flags Drive to Thornton Road and I-20, where police tried to surrounded his vehicle, Lester said.
“Hightower then attempted to ram the officers’ vehicles and was able to flee,” she said. “Our helicopter unit followed the vehicle and provided information to the ground units.”
Cobb County police and U.S. Marshals joined the chase, and followed the suspect into a residential neighborhood, where he jumped a curb and wrecked the SUV he was driving, police said.
Cobb’s SWAT team was called.
“Once he wrecked, he ran from the vehicle and into the wood line,” Lester said. “Responding Cobb County units and the U.S. Marshal units set up a perimeter of the area. Cobb County canine [teams] released the dogs and the subject was subsequently located.”
Channel 2 Action News’ helicopter reported a large man being lifted onto a stretcher following the chase, but police did not comment on whether Hightower had been injured.
“You never see that sort of thing happen in Mableton,” said Raynel Ruffins, a resident in the area, regarding the number of police who responded to the scene where the chase ended. “To see all these different jurisdictions out here … it’s a bit much.”
Police said a woman, Hightower’s girlfriend was in the SUV with him, but was not charged. She was taken to Grady Memorial Hospital following the wreck for treatment, but her condition was not available.
Hightower is charged with hijacking and armed robbery, with more charges pending, police said.
Once police are done questioning him, he will be taken to the Fulton County jail on Rice Street in west Atlanta.