Two high-speed attempts to escape Newton County law enforcement this weekend ended in crashes, resulting in arrests or severe injury.
On Saturday afternoon, two men wanted for a Morgan County armed robbery were arrested after a chase on U.S. Interstate 20 by Newton County law enforcement.
Antwion Durrell Strickland, 19, of Decatur and Quadarrius Jamar Martin, 18, of Chamblee were charged with armed robbery in Morgan County. In Newton County, Martin faces charges of fleeing in attempt to elude, reckless driving and obstruction of an officer, and Strickland was charged with obstruction of an officer, according to the Covington Police Department public information log.
Strickland was believed to be out on bond for an armed robbery in DeKalb County, according to Morgan County Sherriff Robert Markley.
The two allegedly robbed a convenience store shortly before 1 p.m. just outside of Rutledge, taking cash, lottery tickets and a religious plate kept in the store.
A "be on the lookout" alert describing the red, four-door Chevrolet passenger car used as the getaway vehicle was sent out. About the same time, Newton County dispatchers received a call reporting reckless driving on U.S. Interstate 20 by a car that matched the description.
Newton County Sherriff's Office deputies and Covington Police officers gave chase to the car for several miles. The suspects attempted to exit at Almon Road but were going too fast and crashed, knocking off both front wheels, said Markely.
Strickland got out and attempted to escape on foot, but was caught. A Taser was activated on him in the process, and he was taken to Newton Medical Center and released to Morgan county authorities. Martin was arrested without incident.
"This store, being so close to the interstate, folks believe it's an easy target," said Markley.
It was the second time the store had been robbed in a year and a half, he said, but in both instances, the perpetrators were caught.
"Everything fell into place, with the (alert) going out and officers being in the right place and time," he said.
In another incident early Saturday morning, shortly before 3 a.m., Officer Chris Uziak attempted to pull over Tony Lynch, 24, of Covington on Monticello Street near the square.
According to CPD spokesperson Lt. Wendell Wagstaff, Lynch took off down the street and lost control, striking one tree and then another tree. Uziak did not give chase, said Wagstaff.
Lynch was severely injured, according to the CPD log. He was extricated from the crashed 2003 Buick Century and airlifted to Grady Hospital, the only level one trauma center in the area, according to the Newton County Fire Department. He was reported by a hospital spokesperson to be in critical condition, as of Monday afternoon.