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Wrong-way chase ends in fiery crash; 4 sent to hospitals

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NEWNAN, Ga. (AP) — A high-speed chase going the wrong way on a Georgia highway ended in a fiery crash that sent a woman and three children to hospitals, state police said.

The chase began when a trooper clocked a subcompact car going 118 mph (190 kph) on Interstate 85 southwest of Atlanta just before midnight Saturday, said Sgt. Katie Thompson of the Georgia State Patrol.

Trooper Lindsey Barber tried to pull the Fiat 500 over, but the driver kept going, left the highway, ran a red light and drove into an I-85 exit lane before continuing the wrong way in the emergency lane, Thompson told the Newman Times-Herald on Monday.

"I'm sure it terrified the kids in the car and everybody they were coming at," Thompson told The Associated Press.

The chase ended when the driver hit a concrete construction barrier. The car then spun into traffic, where a pickup truck knocked it into a guard rail, Thompson said.

Some passengers got out before the car caught fire but two were still inside. Barber doused the flames with her fire extinguisher to allow the others out, Thompson said.

"When I got there ... it was still smoking," Thompson said.

The woman, who was in the front passenger seat, was airlifted to a hospital with severe head injuries and a broken leg and pelvis, Thompson said. Three children — ages 8, 10, and 11 — were taken by ambulance to an Atlanta hospital. One child had a broken leg and injured spleen, and another had a head injury, and the third may have escaped injury, Thompson told The Associated Press.

Mario Dewayne Anderson, 31, of Lawrenceville, remained jailed Monday on charges including three counts of child endangerment by drunken driving and three of serious injury by vehicle, authorities said.

Other charges included fleeing to elude police, driving with a suspended license, passing on a highway shoulder, having an alcoholic drink in an open container, running a red light and speeding, the newspaper reported.

Thompson said Anderson refused medical treatment but was checked at a hospital before being taken to jail. It was not immediately known if he had an attorney.

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