Tunnel Hill man, Crandall woman dead after high-speed chase in Whitfield County

Two people died in a wreck near the intersection of U.S. 41 and Shugart Road that was part of a high-speed chase in Dalton Monday afternoon.

According to a statement from a Georgia State Patrol public information officer, at approximately 3 p.m. a 2002 Volkswagen Beetle was traveling south in the right turning lane on Georgia 3 (U.S. 41) "actively fleeing a marked Tunnel Hill Police Department officer."

The driver of the Beetle, identified as Kaleb Marshall Brown, 26, from Tunnel Hill, "was driving recklessly at a high rate of speed, and attempted to pass multiple vehicles between the right turn lane and right lane." The Beetle "struck four vehicles before striking the back of a tractor-trailer."

This impact caused the Beetle to "rotate counterclockwise, striking the driver side front quarter panel of one of the previous vehicles" with its rear passenger side. The Beetle "came to an uncontrolled rest facing north between the right lane and right turning lane."

Brown was pronounced dead at the scene as was a passenger in the Beetle, Christy Leigh Lawing, 27, from Crandall.

The state patrol's report is not finished.

According to a news release from Whitfield County Sheriff Scott Chitwood, the sheriff's office's Narcotics Unit "requested assistance" from the Tunnel Hill Police Department for a stop of Brown's vehicle. 

"The Narcotics Unit had information that Brown was distributing methamphetamine, was a felon in possession of a handgun and had an active felony warrant for aggravated assault out of Tennessee," said Chitwood.

Chitwood said when the Tunnel Hill officer (who was not named) tried to stop Brown's vehicle, Brown "fled." That officer and a sheriff's office deputy pursued. Chitwood said the Tunnel Hill officer performed a PIT (pursuit intervention technique) maneuver on Brown's car.

"Brown was able to recover from the maneuver and continued to flee from the officers," Chitwood said. "As Brown approached the intersection of Highway 41 and Shugart Road, at a high rate of speed, Brown lost control of his vehicle and made contact with several vehicles to include a tractor-trailer."

Tunnel Hill Police Chief Trey Ryder said his department was "assisting in a Whitfield County Sheriff's Office operation." He declined to answer further questions.

"I don't feel comfortable saying anything else until they clear me," he said.

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