A Grovetown man led local police on a chase last Thursday that ended when a state trooper used a PIT (pursuit intervention technique) maneuver to make the driver loose control of the truck, which overturned into the median of Interstate 20 in Columbia County.
Anthony Cantwell, 33, has been charged by Thomson police with aggravated assault - other weapon, fleeing/attempting to elude police, and two counts of obstructing law enforcement officers.
According to Thomson Police Chief Anson Evans, Cantwell will face additional charges in Columbia County. Drugs and a scale were found inside Cantwell’s pickup so he will face drug distribution charges in Columbia County.
Officers first noticed the black Ford F-150 parked at Walmart with a large number of new tires loaded in the bed. Detective Andrew Thomas noticed that the South Carolina license plate on the truck belonged to a Mazda passenger car.
The detective called for assistance from Investigator Chris Mullis and the two officers attempted to make a traffic stop on the truck as it traveled on Harrison Road. Both officers are part of the TPD Neighborhood Enforcement Team.
The truck would not stop and as one officer pulled alongside the pickup, Cantwell swerved in an attempt to hit the officer’s vehicle.
“That’s what started the pursuit, basically when they tried to run the officer off the road,” Evans said.
As the pursuit headed out of town the two officers were joined by McDuffie County Sheriff’s deputies and later Columbia County and the Georgia State Patrol.
During part of the chase, Evans said, someone was flashing a light out the rear window of the pickup in an attempt to blind the officers. The chief said that may have been done by the female passenger.
“He (Cantwell) was driving too fast to have been trying to flash the light,” Evans said.
The chase ended near mile marker 185 on eastbound I-20 when the pickup overturned after a second PIT move.
“Columbia County set up stop sticks and we were about to run into those and GSP jumped into it and ran up behind them and used a PIT on them and took them off the road before they got to the stop sticks.”
In a search of the vehicle, officers found multiple forms of identification, credit cards with names other that the suspect, and burglary tools.