Police helicopter tracked down allegedly tipsy man

SUWANEE -- A Gwinnett County police helicopter with infrared was used to track down a teen who'd allegedly consumed alcohol before a recent high school basketball game -- and who ran when confronted by authorities.

Police officials on Tuesday said the search was within protocol, as the department's aviation unit helicopter is deployed to find fleeing suspects whenever it's available.

The incident occurred Wednesday evening at Peachtree Ridge High School, which was hosting Collins Hill in a boys basketball region tournament.

An assistant principal caught a whiff of alcohol from three teens entering the gymnasium and pointed them out to a Gwinnett police officer.

The officer confronted Aaron Knobloch, 19, of Suwanee, and asked him to sit down while the officer confronted the other two. Knobloch sat for a moment, then fled, according to a police report.

The officer caught up with the other two, both listed as 17-year-old Collins Hill High students, and they eventually admitted to drinking wine before being dropped off at the game, the report states. A Gwinnett Public Schools spokesperson said Knobloch is not a student.

Meanwhile, other officers saw Knobloch dart from the school, hop a fence and hide in woods near the gymnasium. The helicopter unit was called into the area, immediately spotted Knobloch in the woods and directed officers to him, the report states.

The helicopter "is used anytime it's available, for pursuing anyone who runs or attempts to hide from the police," Gwinnett police spokesman Cpl. Edwin Ritter said.

Knobloch was treated at the scene for facial injuries he received by running into a tree in the woods, the report states. He was arrested on misdemeanor counts of possession of alcohol under age 21 and obstruction of law enforcement.

The two younger teens were arrested on citations for disorderly conduct.


TOWG 3 years, 7 months ago

Maybe I missed something in the article but it seems to me that to scramble a police helicopter, and valuable personnel, to pursue someone for underage consumption of alcohol is a gross misuse of police resources. Maybe they were embarrassed that the kid got away from them, I would be. Someone needs to pay for the use of the copter in this situation and it shouldn't be the taxpayers of Gwinnett County. You don't fly those things around for free.


Kent 3 years, 7 months ago

I just made a comment about the Gwinnett police and the foot rub enforcers and then see this article. This is unbelievable that taxpayers have to pay for a helicopter and associated manpower/equipment to run down a teenager who may be drinking. Just because the helicopter is available it can be used for a case like this? Where is the common sense with people in the department making decisions like this? Examples like this are why taxpayers are so fed up with how government departments are run.


A_Gwinnetian 3 years, 7 months ago

So...let me get this straight: We are now safe from outlaw foot masseuses, teenagers that may or may not be drinking, and speeders? I will definitely sleep better tonight.


NewsReader 3 years, 7 months ago

I'm glad that they were able to track down this vicious criminal in much the same way they arrested those horrible foot massagers. LOL, you just can't make this crap up!


InsertEyeRoll 3 years, 7 months ago

When the police helicopter is "available", that means it's already in the air, so they're not firin' it up just to go find a "tipsy teenager". As a taxpayer, if you want to know why the police do what they do, might I suggest going through the Citizens Police Academy.


SuxBeanU 3 years, 7 months ago

Ah boys, isn't this like using a sledgehammer to crack a peanut? Talk about overkill.


BuzzG 3 years, 7 months ago

Josh Green,

How about doing some investigative reporting and letting us know who much it costs us taxpayers each time they scramble that helicopter.


kmn 3 years, 7 months ago

Maybe he vomited on the curb before he came in is what caused all of this.


Karl 3 years, 7 months ago

Why shouldn't the coppers use the chopper to search for an alledged underaged drinker? Why shouldn't the coppers bust some folks giving other folks a foot massage?

It's not like there is any real crime going on in Gwinnett County.

/sarcasm off/


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