By Ed Brock
A Monroe County woman with her 12-week-old infant strapped in a car seat led law enforcement officers on a chase through five counties, ending in Clayton County.
After the chase 40-year-old Beverly Lynn Hicks told authorities that she ran because she didn't have a license and was afraid she would be arrested and lose her children, Monroe County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Allison Grant said.
"Her logic was a little faulty," Grant said.
The chase began shortly after 9 a.m. Tuesday when a Monroe County deputy pulled Hicks' yellow Mustang over in the northbound lanes of Interstate 75, Georgia State Patrol spokesman Trooper Larry Schnall said. According to Grant that initial stop was for an improper lane change and a cracked windshield.
"As the deputy exited his patrol car the violator's vehicle sped off," Schnall said.
The deputy, state troopers and other officers chased Hicks through Monroe, Butts, Spalding, Henry and finally Clayton counties. At times the pursuit reached speeds of 100 mph, according to Grant.
Officers twice tried to use "stop sticks" to flatten her tires and, having failed in those attempts, were preparing to perform a "pit maneuver" to force the Mustang into a spin.
Then as they approached the interchange with Interstate 675 one of the officers in the pursuit noticed an infant safety seat in the Mustang.
"Once we saw the car seat we re-evaluated the situation and decided to use the 'box-in' technique," Schnall said.
So shortly after the chase entered northbound I-675 six state trooper patrol cars surrounded the Mustang and forced it to a stop in the median, Schnall said. All six patrol cars were damaged in the maneuver.
After the stop officers arrested Hicks and she faces charges including felony fleeing and eluding, child endangerment, DUI with a child under the age of 14 in the vehicle, reckless driving, driving on a suspended license and numerous traffic charges.
"She appeared to be disoriented, possibly under the influence of drugs or deranged," Schnall said.
Hicks is being held in Monroe County Jail and the infant was turned over to the Monroe County Department of Family and Children Services.