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Man in head-on collision after fleeing deputies, shuts I-20 in Newton for hours

A man fleeing sheriff’s deputies crashed three counties away, resulting in several injuries and shutting down I-20 for hours Tuesday.

State troopers said a 28-year-old South Carolina man ran from Greene County sheriff’s deputies. The chase went through Morgan and Walton counties into Newton County, where the pursued vehicle hit another car head-on Tuesday afternoon.

Cpl. Cal Barton of the Georgia State Patrol said 28-year-old Dontrail McDaniel was driving west on I-20 and took the Stanton Springs Parkway exit near Social Circle.

McDaniel then allegedly reentered I-20 the wrong way in his 2020 Chevrolet Impala, traveling westbound in the eastbound lanes.

About a mile to the west, McDaniel’s car struck an eastbound 2018 Chevrolet Cruze. The impact forced the Cruze into the rear of a 2017 Chevrolet Equinox.

Barton said a 23-year-old Augusta woman was driving the Chevrolet Cruze. She was taken to Piedmont Newton Hospital in Covington with moderate injuries.

Also sustaining moderate injuries and transported to Piedmont Newton were the 50-year-old driver of the Chevrolet Equinox and his 44-year-old passenger. Both were from White Plains, Georgia.

Greene County sheriff’s Capt. Lee Stancil told the Morgan County Citizen newspaper a deputy there tried to stop the Impala for speeding about 4 miles east of the Siloam exit on I-20.

McDaniel allegedly took the Greensboro exit, then turned around when a second deputy joined the pursuit. The chase then continued westbound on the interstate.

Morgan County deputies tried to use “stop sticks” at the Buckhead exit, but that didn’t slow the Impala.

Stancil told the Citizen the lead car took the Madison/Monticello exit, but drove over Monticello Highway and got back on I-20, heading toward Newton County where the driver finally crashed.

Morgan County sheriff’s Capt. Dietrich Roland said deputies from his office gave up the chase after the Impala crossed into Newton County but came to the scene and helped the driver of the Cruze escape moments before the car burst into flames.

Stancil said McDaniel was treated for minor injuries at a Madison hospital, then released to the Greene County Detention Center.

Barton said GSP is investigating the crash with assistance from the Specialized Collision Reconstruction Team.

The crash shut down eastbound travel for quite some time in Newton County. The collision was reported just before 1:40 p.m. and didn’t clear until 4:05 p.m., according to the Georgia Department of Transportation.

Walton EMS assisted in the emergency response, Assistant Chief Craig League of Walton County Fire Rescue said.

Barton said McDaniel faced a warrant from his arrest from the Board of Pardon and Paroles for an alleged parole violation. He was suspected to be under the influence of alcohol and drugs and “will face numerous charges” from the Greene County Sheriff’s Office, Barton said.

Georgia Department of Corrections records show McDaniel was convicted in Newton County for a November 2019 incident. He got a two-year sentence for fleeing and one-year concurrent sentences for obstruction and traffic charges.

He was released from state custody on Dec. 17, 2020.