One Dead, Two Injured After I-85 High Speed Chase Tuesday

By MJ Kneiser, WLHR Radio, Lavonia

A McDonough, Georgia man faces multiple charges after leading authorities in two counties on a high-speed chase up Interstate 85 that ended in the death of one of his passengers.

It happened about 2 p.m. Tuesday and began in Banks County when deputies there tried to stop a silver Toyota Corolla for speeding near Exit 149. According to Franklin County Sheriff Stevie Thomas, his officers were notified by Banks County and took up the pursuit near Exit 160.

“We received a call that the Toyota was headed into Franklin County on I-85 exceeding speeds of 100 miles per hour,” Thomas said late Tuesday afternoon. “We also had two deputies at Exit 166 and they put out stop sticks and attempted to stop the vehicle.”

Thomas said the Banks County Sheriff’s Office indicated deputies said they saw items being thrown from the Toyota as it sped up the Interstate.

Thomas said the suspects avoided the stop sticks and raced up the Interstate weaving in and out of traffic and also traveling on the shoulder passing vehicles at speeds of over 100 mph.

The State Patrol joined in the chase and at one point, the driver of the Toyota lost control but was able to regain control and continue on up I-85 at speeds of over 100 mph.

As the chase neared Lavonia, one of the GSP troopers got along side of the Toyota, at which point Thomas said the suspect side swiped the trooper’s cruiser.

He said that caused the driver of the Toyota to lose control a second time.

Thomas said one person inside the vehicle, a passenger, died at the scene. His name has not been released.
A second person, identified by the Georgia State Patrol as the driver, was air lifted to Greenville Memorial Hospital.

He is identified as 21-year old Thanquarius Calhoun, of McDonough.

Georgia State Patrol Spokesperson Gordy Wright told that Calhoun will be charged with first-degree vehicular homicide, felony fleeing, driving under the influence drugs, and reckless driving.

Wright said Calhoun also faces charges in Banks County.

A third person in the vehicle was also injured and according to Thomas, taken to Ty Cobb Regional Medical Center.

He is identified as 20-year old Reitheal Morton, of Dallas, Ga.

I-85 northbound remained closed near the accident scene at mile marker 175 for several hours as the investigation continued and a helicopter landed near the crash site.