NWGA Scanner | May 29th, 2021

Chattanooga man arrested after 100 mph pursuit with trooper on I-75 in Whitfield County

According to a Georgia State Patrol incident report, on May 18th, 2021, at 7:38 PM, while sitting stationary on I-75 northbound near mile marker 327, Trooper Shackleford observed a gold 2010 Ford sedan traveling at a high rate of speed in the left lane. Trooper Shackleford reported, “[I] used my state-issued Stalker Laser to detect the speed of the oncoming vehicle. The laser displayed a speed of 99 MPH. The posted speed limit was 70 MPH. [I] observed that the vehicle was jerky in its lane changes. The driver appeared to react differently in their driving mannerisms than most vehicles during a traffic stop. The driver stopped on the right shoulder at mile marker 327. I observed that the driver did not put the vehicle in park. Due to the driving mannerisms of the driver, [I] did not feel comfortable approaching the vehicle. [I] maintained my position by my patrol car, keeping eye contact with the driver in the rearview mirror, and motioned for him to step out of the vehicle.” The driver, later identified as Gabriel Vaughn, 27, of Chattanooga, then began to look back and forth between the passenger side-view mirror and the road. The trooper continued to attempt and get Vaughn out of the vehicle. Vaughn failed to comply even after being vocally requested to step out of the vehicle. As the trooper began to radio Troop A Communications and inform them that Vaughn was refusing to exit the vehicle, she observed the brake lights disengage, and the tires squeal. Trooper Shackleford reported, “The driver fled the scene of the traffic stop, initiating a pursuit. [I] entered my patrol car and activated my siren to accompany my blue lights. [I] informed Troop A Communications that [I] was in pursuit.” As the Vaughn approached the 328 exits, he failed to maintain its lane and passed a tractor-trailer on the right shoulder. Vaughn reached speeds of over 100 MPH while attempting to avoid capture. According to the report, “Vaughn made erratic lane changes without signaling at a high rate of speed, showing no regard for the motoring public also occupying the roadway.” Trooper Shackleford reported, “Due to the reckless nature of the driver and the threat posed to the public, [I] decided that the pursuit should be ended. There was no other units near me to assist in a “box-in” technique, and due to the traffic traveling on the interstate [I] decided spike strips would not be viable. [I] observed a break in traffic and attempted to set up a PIT Maneuver.” The trooper did not perform a PIT to ensure the safety of the driver and others traveling on the roadway. Vaughn continued to travel recklessly around traffic at a high rate of speed. Vaughn took exit 333 at a high rate of speed, almost losing control of the vehicle. Vaughn ran the red light at GA-52 (Walnut Avenue) and attempted to make a right turn at a high rate of speed. Trooper Shackleford reported, “Due to the high rate of speed, the driver lost control and began to yaw. The vehicle crossed a raised center median, traveling north across westbound traffic, almost striking two vehicles. The vehicle struck a power pole with its front.” Vaughn fled from the vehicle leaving his injured girlfriend behind in the crashed car. Two witnesses advised the trooper that Vaughn had fled on foot and provided a description of him. Vaughn was later found by the Dalton Police department in a neighboring subdivision. Trooper Shackleford reported, “[I] asked Mr. Vaughn why he fled. Mr. Vaughn stated he was scared.” Vaughn was transported to Whitfield County Jail, charged with hit and run, felony fleeing/attempting to elude police officers, running a red light, improper lane change or usage, reckless driving, speeding, and failure to maintain lane. According to arrest records, Vaughn has a lengthy arrest record.