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.