JONESBORO, Ga. - Jonesboro Police Chief Franklin Allen said the man behind the wheel of a stolen SUV gave officers no choice but to chase him Tuesday morning. Dash cam video from a Jonesboro patrol car shows the pursuit covered almost 20 miles in nearly 20 minutes.
"He exposed a lot of people to serious injury," the chief told FOX 5's Portia Bruner Wednesday.
Chief Allen said the officers made the right decision to keep up the pursuit even after speeds topped upwards of 100 miles an hour through Tara Boulevard, Upper Riverdale Road, State Route 85 and side streets.
"The officer stayed within the pursuit policy and they exercised all appropriate safety measures. In my view, they did a fantastic job," said Allen, who's served as police chief for six years.
According to the Allen, officers realized the SUV was stolen as the driver left the Clayton County Justice Center in Jonesboro. When officers tried to pull him over he never stopped. A dash cam video shows the SUV weaving in and out of traffic for miles.
"It's one of those things where you got somebody who's running for a reason. Our job is to find out why he's running, even if it's just the stolen car, sometimes that turns into something more that they're running for," said Officer Jacob Anthony, one of three officers involved in the high speed chase.
"Right around Roy Huie Road, I tried to stop him. But before I could even slow down, he rammed my patrol car," said Officer Anthony.
Officer Anthony's two colleagues tried to stay close without posing unnecessary risks to other drivers.
At one point, they almost trapped the driver in a PIT maneuver, but the driver got away. The chase ultimately ended on Interstate 75 in the northbound lanes. No one was injured and 19-year-old Jantavious Denny of Union City was arrested with the help of Clayton County Sheriff's deputies. The 18-year-old woman who was riding with him was not injured and is not facing charges.
The chief said he stands behind his officers' decisions and the supervisors who monitored the chase.
"We had allowed this pursuit to go on probably longer than it should have. We were trying to give him ample time to stop, but every time we tried to do a pit maneuver, he became more aggressive. We made a determination that we had to keep going until we could stop him and get him off the road. My officers did the right thing and I'll stand behind that," Chief Allen. "I know some people are gonna take issue with our decision and my stance, but he was dangerous and my guys had to get him off the street before he hurt someone."