A police chase through Gwinnett County ended in a fiery crash into a utility pole early Friday, setting a gas main ablaze and cutting power along a busy highway in Lawrenceville.
Grayson Highway at Simonton Road was shut down for nearly six hours while authorities worked to get the fire under control. While power was restored by 6 a.m., the car was on fire until about 8:30 a.m., when utility crews shut off the gas that was feeding the flames.
The road reopened shortly after, according to police.
Officers started chasing the driver, who was wanted for violating his probation and failure to appear, about 3:20 a.m., Lawrenceville police Lt. Jake Parker told AJC.com.
The car left the roadway, crashed into a power pole and ruptured a gas main.
“The driver tried to bail on foot,” Parker said. “He didn’t make it very far and was apprehended.”
Nashawn Wiggins, 24, of Lawrenceville, was treated at a local hospital for minor injuries and released into police custody. He was being held in the Gwinnett County jail Friday afternoon on charges of reckless driving and fleeing or attempting to elude an officer. He was also cited for broken tail lights, jail records show.
Gwinnett fire spokesman Capt. Tommy Rutledge said the threat of escaping gas vapors complicated firefighting efforts. At the height of the blaze, flames shot 30 to 40 feet into the air.
“The decision was made to allow the fire to burn until the gas company was able to stop the leak,” Rutledge said in an email.
Lawrenceville Gas workers had to dig in multiple locations to stop the leak, he said. Fire crews used a hose line to protect the gas company workers and prevent the fire from spreading.
No one was evacuated, and no injuries were reported as a result of the fire.
While Grayson Highway was closed, drivers were forced onto Scenic Highway and Gwinnett Drive.
» For updated traffic information, listen to News 95.5 and AM 750 WSB and follow @ajcwsbtraffic on Twitter.
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