PEMBROKE — A high-speed chase of a vehicle with an unsecured child in the back seat ended Tuesday after officers forced the driver off the road, police said.
Pembroke police Sgt. Matthew Lynn said Frederick Burnsed, of Bloomingdale, was arrested and faces various charges, including aggravated assault of an officer and cruelty to children, after leading Bryan County deputies and Pembroke police on a high-speed chase down Georgia Highway 119 into Pembroke city limits.
Lynn said the incident began around 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, when Bulloch County dispatch received a call about a suspicious vehicle at a Seed Tick Road home near the Bryan-Bulloch county line.
Lynn said when Bryan County deputies arrived at the scene, they found a door of the home had been opened. Deputies tried to detain Burnsed, but he jumped in the vehicle and fled the scene with Shelley Smith and her young child in tow, he said.
Deputies pursued Burnsed on Highway 119 in hopes he would slow down, but he only sped up, Lynn said.
“We broke it off because of the child in the back seat,” Lynn said.
With Pembroke officers waiting ahead of the chase on Highway 119, county deputies tried to slow down the pursuit. But Pembroke Officer Clifford Bacot clocked Burnsed driving 105 mph in a 55-mph zone, Lynn said. Bacot also set out spike strips at the intersection of Sims Road and Highway 119 in attempt to stop Burnsed.
“He evaded the spike strips by going across the northbound lane and driving on the shoulder of the road,” Lynn said.
Burnsed continued into Pembroke, passing by Bryan County High School, where Bacot and Pembroke Police Chief Mark Crowe, in separate cars, tried to box him in to get him to stop. But Burnsed evaded police once again when he made an abrupt turn onto Patterson Street, Lynn said.
“Chief Crowe was able to get around him on Patterson Street, and he slowed (Burnsed) to about 30-40 mph and (Burnsed) threw his hands up,” Lynn said. “When the chief stopped him and got out of the car, the guy took off and hit the chief’s car and narrowly missed the chief.”
Bacot pursued Burnsed on Patterson Street and hit his bumper at the stop sign on Patterson Street. Bursned then continued onto Harry Hagan Road, Lynn said.
“At that point, Chief Crowe took back over and he had to end it with the child in the car,” Lynn said. “He went ahead and executed a perfect PIT maneuver and once the pit was executed, the male suspect did attempt to flee, but Chief Crowe (stopped him).”
A PIT, or Pursuit Intervention Technique, maneuver is a chase tactic in which the pursuing car pulls alongside the vehicle it is chasing before turning sharply and forcing the driver off the road.
Once the car was finally stopped, officers found the child, between 5 and 7 years old, according to Lynn, in the back seat not wearing a seatbelt.
Burnsed is charged in Bryan County with aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, fleeing, attempting to elude officers and second-degree cruelty to children, Lynn said.
Lynn said Burnsed was charged by Georgia State Patrol with speeding at 105 mph in a 55-mph zone, driving with a suspended license, suspended registration and no insurance, reckless driving, hit and run and failure to maintain lane.
In Bulloch County, Lynn said Burnsed and Smith are both being charged with burglary.
“It looks like between Bulloch and Chatham counties, they will have multiple burglary charges on them,” he added, noting about eight burglaries between the two counties had been linked to the duo.
Lynn added the pair might be linked to even more burglaries. Anyone with any information is asked to call Capt. Todd Hutchinson with the Bulloch County Sheriff’s Office at (912) 764-8888 or Sgt. Donnie Thomas with the Bryan County Sheriff’s Department at (912) 653-3800.