ALBANY, GA (WALB) - An armed robbery suspect led law enforcement on a high speed chase across three South Georgia counties, and down Albany's busiest roads at peak time, with speeds reaching 130 miles an hour.
Good teamwork by eight agencies amazingly kept anyone from being hurt.
William Owens made his first court appearance Wednesday morning. The 22-year-old admitted this was not his first time in court as the judge reminded him of his parole violation.
His list of charges so far include: hijacking, armed robbery, aggravated assault on a peace officer, fleeing, and probation and parole violations. He will likely face more charges in Dougherty and Baker Counties.
Dougherty County Police Investigators said Owens robbed Jerry Peterman, with a realistic looking BB gun, in the 700 block of River Chase Lane as he was picking up his mail.
Police said Owens stole Peterman's wallet, which he threw out in Baker County, cell phone, and 2008 Toyota Tundra truck.
Minutes later, Lee County Sheriff's Deputies tried to stop the truck, starting a more than 50 mile chase through Lee, Dougherty, and Baker County.
The black Toyota Tundra truck sped by Albany Dougherty Drug Unit Corporal Richard Norman on Tarva Road at the Dougherty County line, and Norman joined in the effort to stop him.
"It took us 15 minutes to cover that 20 miles. It's the longest chase I've ever been in," Norman said.
At speeds up to 130 miles per hour, the suspect went into the wrong lane to run a Georgia State Patrol trooper off the road.
"If he's willing to hit a police officer or run a police officer off the road or even a state trooper off the road, he's trying to kill some people. And this guy needs to be stopped," said Norman.
The pursuit became more intense as the suspect turned onto Gillionville Road headed back into Albany at over 100 miles per hour.
Albany Police officers blocked traffic at intersections to keep innocent people safe. Officers said they saw the suspect wave a gun as he was speeding by.
"The gun changes it a whole lot. It presents a danger we must do something with. We can't just back off and let him go," said Albany-Dougherty Drug Unit Commander Major Bill Berry.
Georgia State Patrol Trooper Jack Stripling had actually been practicing pit maneuvers in a simulator, when he rushed out to try it for real, but the truck was too big.
"When you've got a bigger vehicle. You have to match speeds. That's the key to successfully doing the pit maneuver," said GSP Sergeant First Class Shawn Urquhart.
The suspect went through a Harvey's supermarket parking lot and onto North Slappey, heavy with traffic.
"I don't know if this guy had a death wish or was just trying to prove a point," Berry said.
Finally at the intersection of North Slappey and Palmyra, the Trooper's third pit attempt works, and Major Berry and Corporal Norman rammed him.
"You could see the back tires were still spinning like he was trying to push him out of the way. So we just pinned him between the two of us and stopped any further movement."
"Our jobs are simple. To keep this community safe. And I think yesterday we did that," Norman said.
Albany Police blocked intersections down Gillionville Road and North Slappey to keep them out of the way of the chase.
Officers stopped traffic to allow the suspect to drive through without any cars being in the intersections. A huge coordination effort that had to be put together in just minutes, with lives on the line.
Albany Police Deputy Chief Mark Scott said "It mainly fell on the supervisors to try and keep up with where the thing was. What people were doing and to direct officers to the right places to try to try to make sure people don't get hurt."
Good team work by law enforcement ended with no one was hurt after a high speed chase through Albany's busiest streets, and the armed robbery suspect was captured.