Atlanta police, GSP troopers team up to chase down alleged street racers on ATVs

Georgia state troopers had to chase an ATV driver who fled a traffic stop near downtown Atlanta all the way to Forest Park before apprehending the motorist Saturday night.

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Georgia state troopers had to chase an ATV driver who fled a traffic stop near downtown Atlanta all the way to Forest Park before apprehending the motorist Saturday night.

Several ATV riders’ wild ride through downtown Atlanta came to an abrupt end over the weekend after police and state troopers tracked them down near Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Auto crimes investigators from the Atlanta Police Department backed up Georgia State Patrol troopers responding to a street racing call Saturday evening, according to aerial footage of the incident released Wednesday. They arrived to find at least 10 all-terrain vehicles pulling out of a parking lot near the intersection of Northside and Martin Luther King Jr. drives around 8:30 p.m.

Authorities said the ATVs began to flee as officers and troopers descended upon the scene, but the police department’s Phoenix 1 helicopter swooped in to provide overhead coverage and helped ground units keep track of the vehicles.

According to police, the lead vehicle bolted when officers tried stopping a convoy of the ATVs traveling on Northside Drive. Troopers followed that suspect while police pulled over six other vehicles and apprehended the respective drivers, department officials indicated.

According to a social media post that showed portions of the chase, the fleeing ATV led authorities on a pursuit on surface streets from downtown Atlanta into Forest Park. The video showed the driver, identified as 35-year-old James Tazewell Sanford, speeding into oncoming traffic lanes at speeds of 70 mph, and veering onto sidewalks and open fields off-road.

Troopers finally stopped the suspect near Southfield Parkway in Clayton County and arrested him without incident. Sanford was taken to the Fulton County Jail, where he was booked on charges of felony fleeing and reckless driving. The Atlanta man was released from custody Tuesday, online booking records show.

“Because of the coordination between agencies and the effective communication between air and ground units, officers were able to safely apprehend these disruptive drivers,” the police department said on Facebook. “We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to quell street racing, illegal ATV driving, and other criminal activity. Job well done to all involved.”