High-speed motorcycle chase the wrong direction on Interstate 85 ends in two collisions

Updated: May 18

UPDATE: Georgia State Patrol Hartwell Post (Post 52) is the agency in charge of the investigation into last Wednesday's high speed motorcycle chase. As of this morning, May 18, there is no report available from GSP, as the investigation is ongoing. ConnectLocal spoke with Major Chris Looney of the Franklin County Sheriff's Office this morning, and was advised that both the Georgia State Patrol Trooper and the Franklin County Sheriff's Deputy that were injured in the chase were treated at Athens Regional Medical Center and released from the hospital. The suspect, Christopher Michael Campbell, of Pelzer, SC, is still being treated at ARMC for injuries sustained during the chase.

"The chase began on Interstate 85.  The violator, Christopher Michael Campbell, of Pelzer South Carolina was traveling North on I-85.  When he approached the Hart County line he turned around and started back south bound in the north bound lane.  Just before exit 166 he turned back around and started back north.  Speeds exceeded 135 miles per hour," Looney stated. "The chase came to an end when the motorcycle struck a Lavonia PD patrol vehicle at exit 173.  A Franklin County Deputy and GSP Trooper were also injured when they crashed on I-85 near mile marker 172.  The officers crested a hill and traffic was backed up, they then struck a tractor and trailer."

The pursuit of Campbell involved officers from Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, Georgia State Patrol, Motor Carrier Compliance and Lavonia Police Department.

Campbell has been charged with 10 counts of Felony Fleeing and Attempting to Elude Police Officers, two counts of Serious Injury by Vehicle, one count of Aggravated Assault on a Peace Officer, Possession of Cocaine, Reckless Driving and numerous other traffic charges.

Original Story, posted Wednesday, May 13:

Two law enforcement vehicles reportedly collided during the chase, sending a GSP Trooper and. Franklin County Deputy to the hospital, and the motorcycle that led the chase crashed into a law enforcement vehicle blocking an exit. The motorcycle reportedly reached speeds in excess of 125 mph traveling south in the northbound lanes of I-85.

A high speed pursuit late this afternoon on Interstate 85 near the North Carolina/Georgia border ended with northbound traffic backed up for more than an hour after two separate wrecks resulting from the chase sent two law enforcement officers and an unknown male to the hospital.

At Approximately 5:30, a Franklin County Sheriff’s deputy attempted to conduct a traffic stop of a motorcycle that was traveling northbound on I-85 near the 174 mile marker. The motorcyclist evaded the deputy and sped up the interstate toward Exit 177, where several Georgia State Patrol officers were waiting. According to statements by law enforcement, the suspect executed a u-turn in the median before the exit and proceeded to travel south in the northbound lanes at speeds in excess of 125 mph, weaving in and out of the lanes of traffic and cutting other drivers off, forcing them off the interstate.

At the northbound weigh station, the motorcyclist entered through the exit lane, then re-entered the interstate, still traveling southbound in the northbound lanes until reaching a point near mile marker 166 before reversing direction and traveling north along the northbound lanes, still at speeds in excess of 100 mph.

At the 173 exit in Lavonia, the motorcyclist sped up the exit ramp and crashed into a Lavonia police vehicle that was blocking the exit. The motorcyclist was thrown from the motorcycle and landed several yards down an embankment.

In the process of the chase, which involved multiple law enforcement agencies, a Georgia State Trooper and a Franklin County Sheriff’s deputy reportedly collided in the northbound lanes between the northbound weigh station and Exit 173. One of the vehicles rolled down the embankment. Medical transport was requested for both officers. No report has been given on their condition, although ConnectLocal was advised by a GSP Trooper on scene that they were both “OK.”

The motorcyclist was also tended to on scene, and transported to Athens Regional Medical Center. The extent of his injuries are unknown, as is his identity. Multiple witnesses on scene indicated that he had been wearing a helmet.

ConnectLocal will update this story as more information becomes available.


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