Teen driver killed after GSP pursuit, crash on I-20

Atlanta police took a 16-year-old passenger into custody following the deadly crash.

Atlanta police took a 16-year-old passenger into custody following the deadly crash.

A 17-year-old driver was killed Thursday night after leading state troopers on a chase on I-20 and crashing into a guardrail in west Atlanta.

Terrell Smith was behind the wheel of a Ram 1500 when Atlanta police asked for the Georgia State Patrol to help apprehend him about 6:40 p.m., according to the state agency. The pickup had just been stolen, police said, and they tracked it to a location on Whitehall Street.

When a trooper arrived in the area, the truck drove off and entered I-20 West, GSP spokeswoman Franka Young said.

“The trooper attempted a traffic stop, but the driver failed to stop, initiating a pursuit,” Young said.

The trooper positioned his patrol car to stop the fleeing Ram, commonly known as a PIT maneuver, and it crashed into a guardrail between Marin Luther King Jr. Drive and H.E. Holmes Drive, she said. The impact caused the truck to overturn.

Smith, who was from Atlanta, was dead at the scene. GSP initially identified him as a passenger in the wreck but said Friday that a 16-year-old passenger survived.

The teen was taken into custody by Atlanta police and will be charged in connection with the stolen vehicle, according to Young. Because the passenger is a minor, authorities are not releasing their name.

All westbound lanes of I-20 were shut down for about four hours while authorities were on scene Thursday night, causing heavy delays. The lanes reopened about 10:30 p.m., the WSB 24-Hour Traffic Center reported.

The incident remains under investigation.

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