Warrants have been taken out against five young persons, including a 14-year-old girl, charging them with the break-ins of two businesses in McDuffie County last week.
Two of the suspects still are hospitalized at Medical College of Georgia Hospital in Augusta following a high-speed chase with a Harlem police officer early last Wednesday near the intersection of U.S. Highway 221 and Neals Mill Road in McDuffie County, authorities say.
Following the wreck, two of the suspects fled the scene, which led to a manhunt by deputies from McDuffie and Columbia counties. One of them was apprehended a few hours later, while the last one was taken into custody about 2 p.m. on Wednesday.
Each of the five suspects is charged with two counts of burglary, according to McDuffie County Sheriff's Department Major Ronnie Williamson. An additional charge of criminal trespass also was filed against one of them.
Trooper First Class Mike Callaway of the Georgia State Patrol post in Grovetown said other charges are forthcoming against the driver of the car, once he is able to identify that person.
The older suspects were identified as: Brandon Sherman, 17, of Highway 1, Wrens; Timothy Moye, 20, of Phenix City, Ala.; Patrick Clayton Mancil, 17, of Phenix City; and Sidney Champion, of Columbus.
The teenage girl also is from Wrens, Maj. Williamson said.
The five are accused of breaking into the Triangle Convenience Store on the Augusta Highway just outside Thomson and Axon's Mini Mart in Dearing. Stolen from both businesses were tobacco products, Maj. Williamson said.
Video cameras at both businesses recorded some of the suspects committing the crimes, he explained. The teenage girl was seen attempting to break the glass out of the doors of both businesses, Maj. Williamson said.
A volunteer firefighter with the McDuffie County Fire/Rescue Services, Derrick Smith and a newspaper carrier for The Augusta Chronicle , witnessed the crime in Dearing and notified Harlem police that he was behind the car. A chase later ensued with police and a deputy from Columbia County.
Maj. Williamson commended Mr. Smith for his actions.
"I can't say enough about what he did to help," Maj. Williamson said. "He went above and beyond in helping and we appreciate it very much."
Trooper Callaway said the driver of a 2001 Nissan Altima Limited Edition, which was purchased two days before near Columbus, lost control while rounding a curve on U.S. Highway 221 and flipped at least three times before crashing into some trees.
One of the victims, not wearing a safety belt, was thrown out of the demolished car.
The three persons injured badly from the crash-chase -- speed reaching 130 mph at some points -- were treated at the scene by personnel with the McDuffie County Emergency Medical Services and firefighters/first responders with the McDuffie County Fire/Rescue Services.
The injured were taken to the Medical College of Georgia Hospital in Augusta, where two of them initially were reported to be in critical condition. Maj. Williamson said one of the young men was placed in the hospital's intensive critical care unit.
Two other suspects, identified as Mr. Mancil and Mr. Sidney Champion, fled on foot from authorities.
It triggered a manhunt that brought in a dog team from the Columbia County Sheriff's Department. The manhunt lasted a couple of hours and did not yield fruitful in finding the men that ran from the scene.
About 6:45 a.m., according to Investigator Larry Adaway, Mr. Mancil was taken into custody after making up a false crime story to a resident on the 5600 block of Neals Mill Road. He was seeking help at the time.
The fifth suspect, Mr. Champion, meanwhile, was taken into custody shortly before 2 p.m. last Wednesday.
He had been hiding in a shed on property located off U.S. Highway 221, several blocks from a crash site.