This is a screenshot of body camera video as officers approached the wrecked vehicle Saturday evening.
Photo: Channel 2 Action News
Photo: Channel 2 Action News

3 shoplifting suspects hospitalized after wrong-way chase, crash in Gwinnett

A high-speed police chase in Gwinnett County left three suspects with serious injuries and more than a thousand dollars in shoplifted items in police possession.

Snellville police responded to a Kohl’s store about 6 p.m. Saturday after receiving a call that about $1,800 worth of clothes had been stolen by two women, Channel 2 Action News reported. When officers arrived, the women had gotten into a car with a man and were fleeing the scene.

Detective Jeff Manley told Channel 2 that the department has a chase policy, so officers began the pursuit.

“It’s really a judgment call,” Manley said. “We have a chase policy in Snellville where we chase as long as we don’t deem it unreasonably dangerous to the public.”

The alleged shoplifters sped through the intersection of Ga. 78 and Wisteria Drive, police said. The suspects then weaved through oncoming traffic on Main Street as they passed South Gwinnett High School before losing control on a curve, crashing along Skyland Drive.

The chase lasted less than two miles, so Manley told the news station that officers didn’t have time to believe it was dangerous enough to call off.

“That’s a very busy intersection,” he said. “They put a lot of people in danger.”

Officers surrounded the mangled car and were able to get the injured driver out of the wreckage, Channel 2 reported. However, firefighters had to extricate the two passengers, who were trapped.

Inside the vehicle, police found the Kohl’s merchandise in addition to items from two other stores.

“It looks like they just went on a shoplifting spree,” Manley said.

The three suspects remain in the hospital. One of the women suffered several broken bones and a collapsed lung, Channel 2 reported. Their names were not released, but warrants are pending for their arrest, police said.

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