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Murder suspect shot after I-75 chase with CCSO, GSP

From Staff Reports

Law enforcement agents with the Crisp County Sheriff’s Office and Georgia State Patrol Post #30 were involved in a high-speed chase on I-75 on Monday that ended in Turner County with shots fired and a murder suspect injured and in custody.

The chase began in Crisp County after local authorities were notified to be on the lookout for a black sedan driven by a woman who is wanted on murder charges in Conyers, Ga.

CCSO deputies and GSP troopers positioned themselves on I-75 and attempted to stop the woman when they saw her traveling southbound on the highway at approximately 3:15 p.m., according to CCSO Public Information Officer Haley Wade. A high-speed chase ensued that ended less than 15 minutes later near exit 84 in Turner County, where, according to a statement from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, the subject fired a handgun at the officers and returning fire from the law enforcement agents struck and injured her, ending the incident.

Preliminary information from the GBI’s investigation into the incident indicates that at approximately 10:30 a.m. on Monday, a female subject identified as Joyce Marie Lewis-Pelzer, 42, was reportedly involved in a homicide in Conyers, Ga. The Conyers Police Department issued a BOLO alert with a physical description of Lewis-Pelzer and her vehicle. Conyers Police believed that Lewis-Pelzer had fled the homicide scene and was possibly traveling south towards Florida. The BOLO was directed at law enforcement agencies along Interstate 75.

At approximately 3:15 p.m., Lewis-Pelzer’s vehicle was spotted traveling south on I-75 in Crisp County near milepost 95 by a Georgia State trooper. The GSP trooper, along with two Crisp County deputies, attempted to initiate a stop of the vehicle. The vehicle accelerated and continued to travel southbound. A Pursuit Intervention Technique (PIT) was initiated by the GSP trooper as an attempt to stop the vehicle by force. However, Lewis-Pelzer was able to recover from the skid and continued to flee south. Near milepost 84 in Turner County, the GSP trooper again utilized the PIT maneuver and was able to successfully stop the vehicle.

Two Crisp County deputies approached the vehicle and at least one shot was fired at the deputies from inside Lewis-Pelzer’s vehicle. The two deputies returned fire, striking her. One of the deputies on scene was medically trained and rendered aid until EMS arrived.

Lewis-Pelzer was airlifted to Cordele and later transported by ambulance to the Navicent Health Center in Macon, Ga. where she is listed in serious but stable condition. No officers were injured in this incident.

The GBI is conducting its independent investigation. Once complete, it will be turned over to the Tift County District Attorney’s Office for review.

Crisp County Sheriff Billy Hancock said he was saddened by the incident but grateful no law enforcement personnel or civilians were hurt.

“Our job is to protect the people and to protect ourselves. It’s a tragic incident whenever there’s a situation where we have to exchange gunfire,” Hancock said. “But I’m proud of the deputies. They showed a lot of discipline and relied on their training.”