Traffic stop turns into chase, crash

DULUTH — A routine traffic stop turned into a police chase and violent crash with a tractor-trailer in Duluth on Thursday evening, officials said.

Gwinnett County deputies initiated a traffic stop near Gravitt Trail and Buford Highway at about “7:30 or 8 p.m.” after a driver reportedly ran a red light, sheriff’s department spokeswoman Stacey Bourbonnais said.

“They initially pulled over and when the deputies got out of their vehicles and approached the driver” the vehicle fled, Bourbonnais said.

After a brief pursuit, deputies were in the process of holding back because of the suspect’s erratic driving, when he entered the intersection of Buford Highway and Duluth Highway, striking a tractor-trailer, she said.

The driver of the tractor-trailer was not injured, but two unidentified passengers in the suspect vehicle were both transported to the hospital via ambulance.

“My understanding at this point is that their injuries do not appear to be life-threatening,” Bourbonnais said.

The driver’s motivation for fleeing the traffic stop was still hazy late Thursday.

“(Investigators) are still on the scene and I’m sure they’re still investigating,” Bourbonnais said.