Crime & Safety

Men wanted for questioning in connection with high-speed chase into Ogeechee River

BLOOMINGDALE, Ga. (WSAV) - An investigation is underway into the incidents surrounding an early morning high-speed chase that left a truck submerged in the Ogeechee River.

Just before 6:00 a.m. on Wednesday, a deputy with the Effingham County Sheriff’s Office (ECSO) attempted to flag down a red Nissan truck with suspended tags. We’re told the tags belonged to a different vehicle.

The deputy attempted to stop the truck when it fled away and refused to pull over. The chase lasted roughly five minutes, reaching speeds of over 100 mph before the truck drove down Old River Road and into the Ogeechee River.

Deputy Karyn Witherington said when the truck made contact with the water, the driver escaped through the window and swam away.

The driver has yet to be located. It is unconfirmed if the driver is alive or if there is a body to be recovered.

“We don't know where he is. We haven't located him yet. We are currently working with DNR, Chatham County Police, Chatham County Sheriff's Office are out here trying to get the vehicle out of the river,” said Gena Sullivan with ECSO.

The truck was recovered from the river near Shad and Middle Landing roads.

ECSO now seeks Coleman Mark Hagan and Thomas Schmidt for questioning in connection with this incident. They are urged to call ECSO at 912-754-3449.

Anyone with information on their whereabouts is also asked to call 912-754-3449 or CrimeStoppers at 912-234-2020. CrimeStoppers tipsters can remain anonymous and may qualify for a cash reward.

The Department of Natural Resources, Chatham County Sheriff’s Office, Chatham County Police Department, Chatham County Marine Patrol and Georgia State Patrol responded to assist Wednesday morning.

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