Police vehicle stolen, shots fired after chase ends at Victory Dr, Bee Road

ByWTOC Staff | Published:Jun. 17, 2021 at 3:27 PM EDT

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - A chase ended with a crash near Victory Drive and Bee Road in Savannah after a police car was stolen.

According to the Chatham County Police Department (CCPD), an officer was dispatched to the area of Highway 204 and Interstate 95 for a report of a suspicious vehicle. The officer determined that the suspect, identified as 29-year-old Jacob Anthony Palmer, was wanted out of Virginia.

Police say the suspect and officer got into a scuffle and the suspect pulled a gun on the officer. The suspect then stole the officer’s vehicle. According to CCPD, the officer did not fire his weapon and did not suffer any injuries.

“The suspect jumped into the police car and he traveled into the city but as he made it into the city, we had our helicopter unit surveilling the suspect,” said District 2 Alderman Detric Leggett. Savannah Aldermen Detric Leggett says he went to the scene to speak with police and keep residents informed.

CCPD and Georgia State Patrol (GSP) chased the suspect. According to the Georgia Bureau of Investigations (GBI), Palmer drove in an aggressive manner during the pursuit, at times driving in the wrong direction of traffic and striking a citizen’s vehicle head on at a traffic light.

The chase ended at the intersection of Victory Drive and Bee Road when the suspect crashed the patrol car and the vehicle caught on fire.

The GBI says GSP troopers told Palmer to exit the vehicle and that he did not comply with the commands and pointed a gun in the direction of the troopers. One trooper fired his weapon, hitting Palmer.

GBI states Palmer exited the vehicle and was provided first aid until EMS arrived. Troopers also extinguished the patrol car that was on fire.

Palmer was transported to Memorial Health Hospital in Savannah for treatment and is listed as stable, according to the GBI.

A handgun was recovered from the scene of the crash.

No officers were injured during the incident.

Palmer has been charged by Chatham County Police Department with aggravated assault on police officer, obstruction, theft, felony eluding, and numerous other traffic related charges.

The GBI will conduct an independent investigation and once complete, will be turned over to the Chatham County District Attorney’s Office for review.

One resident who lives nearby says he’s shocked by the scene.

“We all have to be aware, keep our eyes out, keep looking, watch what’s going on around us and just be aware all the time,” said James Groman who lives along Bee Road.

City leaders, like District 3 Alderwoman Linda Wilder Bryan, say they’re focusing on keeping Savannahians safe this summer and keep criminals off the streets.

“We just want them to know that we’re not playing with them this summer. We’re going to do all that we can to keep citizens safe but it’s just, I don’t have the words or comprehensive skills to understand why people do the things they do so we have to be proactive instead of reactive,” said Alderwoman Wilder Bryan.

Witness account

We’re hearing from a 16-year-old boy who witnessed the chase and crash.

Chase Ferrel was driving in a separate vehicle from his family. They had just left Krystal’s and turned onto Victory to go to Tybee Island.

He was at the stop light near Home Depot when he says he saw a police vehicle with the sirens on speeding. He says the driver looked as if he was going to turn into his lane, but the suspect, now identified as Jacob Anthony Palmer, hit the car next to him, backed up and continued driving on Victory, later crashing at the intersection.

Ferrel says he was shaking because he said the police vehicle wasn’t slowing down. It wasn’t until a few seconds later when he realized it wasn’t an officer inside.

“I thought it was at first but it didn’t look like he had the right kind of clothes on. It looked like he had regular clothes. I knew that a cop probably wouldn’t just back up and go away, if he ran into somebody. The all the other ones were following after him. He was the first one so I assumed they must be chasing that car,” said Farrell.

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