Originally created 07/11/01

Motorcyclist dies after crashing in chase



A motorcyclist fleeing Richmond County sheriff's deputies was killed early Wednesday when he lost control of his bike and hit a guardrail at Bobby Jones Expressway and Interstate 20, a sheriff's office major said.

Charles Gray Smith, 22, of Fuquay-Varina, N.C., died at the Medical College of Georgia trauma unit about an hour after arriving, said Maj. Richard Weaver.

The chase began at about 3 a.m. in the 2900 block of Washington Road when a deputy noticed Mr. Smith driving erratically with no headlights. The deputy turned on his emergency equipment, but Mr. Smith sped west on Washington Road and eventually turned onto the expressway. The deputy pursued him and was joined by another patrol unit during the chase, which reached speeds of 75 and 80 mph, Maj. Weaver said.

Mr. Smith was attempting to go west on I-20 toward Atlanta from the expressway when his bike struck the guardrail, ejecting him, Maj. Weaver said.

The Thomson post of the Georgia State Patrol is investigating the accident.