The suspects in a two-state chase that ended just before dusk Tuesday in downtown Columbus face charges ranging from receiving stolen property to drug possession, police said.
The chase that started in Phenix City wound through the Columbus Historic District before police caught Daniel Hamilton, 42, and Amanda Jones, 36, at Ninth Street and First Avenue, officers said. It reached speeds of 65 to 70 mph on Victory Drive and some side streets, according to a police report.
Hamilton was driving the 2006 Nissan Altima with Georgia license plates when a Phenix City police SUV with a tag reader on the front told officers the car was reported stolen in Opelika, Ala., said Columbus Police Capt. Ronnie Hastings.
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The chase crossed the Chattahoochee River three times, Phenix City Police Capt. George Staudinger said Wednesday.
After the tag reader identified the car as stolen, the Phenix City officer turned on his blue light and tried to stop Hamilton on U.S. 280 near 22nd Street. Hamilton did not pull over and continued east toward Columbus, police said.
The Altima crossed into Georgia, then turned around and headed back toward Alabama, Staudinger said. Jones jumped out of the passenger’s seat near a convenience store on Victory Drive, and Hamilton left her, investigators said. She was arrested there.
Hamilton crossed back into Alabama over the Oglethorpe Bridge, turned onto the Colin Powell Parkway in Phenix City, drove back into Columbus on the Dillingham Street Bridge and turned south on Front Avenue as he led officers into the Historic District, Staudinger said.
Hamilton, who lives on Old Crawford Highway in Phenix City, was charged with theft by receiving stolen property, theft by bringing stolen property into another state, possession of ecstasy, possession of methamphetamine, obstruction of police, driving with a suspended or revoked license, reckless driving, no proof of insurance and fleeing to elude law enforcement.
Jones, who lives on Joy Road in Columbus, was charged with theft by receiving stolen property, theft by bringing stolen property into another state, possession of ecstasy, possession of methamphetamine, possession of drugs not in their original container, possession of dangerous drugs and obstruction of police. Jones also goes by Amanda Nichlaus.
Both will face addition charges in Phenix City. Wednesday they were being held in the Muscogee County Jail, pending extradition.
The chase ended in the shadow of the Columbus Government Center. Officers from Phenix City, Columbus, the Muscogee County Sheriff’s Office and the Russell County Sheriff’s Office responded.
Both front tires and the driver’s side rear tire were flat when the chase ended. An off-duty Russell County deputy was at home in the Columbus Historic District when he heard the sirens, Hastings said. He put down spike strips that blew the tires, Hastings said. The chase ended with the suspects arrested fewer than four blocks away.
“He happened to hear and got his spike strips out and utilized them,” Hastings said. “The Columbus Police Department does not use spike strips, so it wasn’t us.”