Two Atlanta teens led police on a four-county, high-speed chase ending in a highway crash after they hijacked a car at gunpoint from a Newton County church parking lot Thursday.
No one was injured in the pursuit - which stretched more than 40 miles on Interstate 20 and involved Newton, Rockdale, DeKalb and Atlanta deputies, officers and troopers. The chase ended when Georgia State Patrol Troopers performed a PIT maneuver, causing the teens to lose control of the vehicle, according to Newton County Sheriff's Office spokesperson Lt. Mark Mitchell.
"We were glad no one was hurt in the chase," Mitchell said. "It turned out the best that it could have, given the chase went through several miles of I-20."
Nicholas Lee Gunn, 17, and Reginald Jerome Mann, 18, were arrested without resistance and charged with hijacking a motor vehicle, armed robbery and possession of a firearm during commission of a felony, among other charges. Gunn also received numerous driving charges.
The chase began around 7 p.m., when a Newton County resident was robbed at gunpoint and had his white 2003 Chevrolet pickup truck stolen in the parking lot of Crossroads Baptist Church on County Road 229 in Social Circle.
An NCSO deputy spotted a white truck matching the description of the stolen car charging west on I-20. After giving chase through Newton County, Rockdale authorities took up the pursuit until the county border, handing it off to DeKalb authorities and then to Atlanta and Georgia State Patrol authorities.
During the chase, the suspects were "driving recklessly," weaving in and out of lanes, driving in shoulders and gores and emergency lanes, said Trooper Cpl. Jeffrey Cain of the Atlanta post. Troopers performed the PIT maneuver and the truck spun around before regaining control and continuing west for a few more minutes.
Finally, around 8 p.m., troopers siezed upon an opportunity with a clear stretch of road near the Martin Luther King Boulevard exit of I-20, west of downtown Atlanta, and bumped the truck again, this time bringing the vehicle to a halt.
A pistol was found in the truck with the perpetrators when they were arrested.
Two lanes of I-20 were closed for an hour as authorities worked the wreck scene.
Gunn and Mann are in custody at the Newton County Detention Center held on $4,000 and $1,000 bail, respectively.