Local duo lead high-speed chase through residential Georgia neighborhood

Sept. 11 – An Oxford man and an Anniston woman were arrested in Peachtree, Ga., on Wednesday after a dangerous high-speed chase through residential neighborhoods and school zones, officials say.

The Peachtree City Police Department has been notified that two suspects, Travis Glenn Smelley, 52, of Oxford, and Natalie Nicole Dumitras, 42, of Anniston, were involved in a robbery at a Home Depot there , according to Peachtree Police Lt. Chris Hyatt.

Officers located Dumitras’ vehicle, driven by Smelley, and initiated a traffic stop. Smelley pulled over, then immediately took off and “began driving with absolute disregard for anyone’s safety,” Hyatt said.

Hyatt explained that during the initial chase, Smelley sometimes drove over 90 miles per hour on a residential street with a 35 mph speed limit.

After Smelley was involved in a minor traffic accident with another vehicle, he drove to a populated area where the conditions were too dangerous for police to pursue, Hyatt said.

“He was going to end up killing someone, so we ended our involvement and he fled to a nearby jurisdiction,” Hyatt said.

Approximately 20 to 25 minutes later, officers received information that the vehicle Smelley was driving was returning via Peachtree. Officers spotted the vehicle and “immediately attempted to immobilize it by making intentional contact and driving it off the roadway,” Hyatt said.

The department’s K9 unit managed to push the vehicle off the road; however, Smelley was able to recover on the pavement and continue his dangerous behavior, Hyatt said.

“We located him on Highway 74 heading south. Again we continued to pursue him. We tried to set up stop sticks at an intersection of Highway 74 and Wisdom Rd. He jumped a concrete median strip onto the divided freeway at freeway speeds, started driving on the wrong side of the freeway to avoid stop poles, and took Wisdom Road which heads toward an active school zone,” Hyatt said.

At this time, two unmarked police vehicles from a nearby department became involved and continued the pursuit through the school zone. The unmarked police cars managed to “intentionally make contact with his vehicle and bring him to a stop just on the outskirts of this school zone,” Hyatt said.

Officers at the scene were able to remove Smelley and Dumitras from the vehicle and arrest them without incident.

Regarding the injuries to Smelley’s face seen in his photo, Hyatt said, “There was no use of force during the removal of the vehicle or anything like that. Mr. Smelley looked like in did this before entering Home Depot.”

Hyatt said that in dealing with drug addicts, it’s “a common appearance of narcotics users of this variety.”

“Wounds on his face and that kind of thing, cuts, that’s pretty normal. It could be from the collision. I don’t know, but it came to light when we dealt with it at Home Depot that he had that kind of thing. open sores on his face.”

Dumitras was charged with possession of drugs and possession of drug-related items. However, Smelley was charged with driving under the influence of drugs, shoplifting, two counts of flight or attempted escape, drug possession, possession of drug-related items, excessive tint on the windshield, driving with a suspended license and 30 different traffics. violations, including numerous reckless driving charges.

Both are being held in Fayette County Jail on bail.