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Stolen car results in manhunt

CONYERS - Conyers police arrested two men and continued to search for two others who are believed to have ditched a stolen a car on Iris Drive on Tuesday afternoon.

Patrol cars with the Conyers Police Department, Rockdale County Sheriff's Office and the Georgia State Patrol lined Iris Drive between West Avenue and the Parker Road bridge Tuesday. The sight of their blue lights flashing and the officers standing along the edge of the road caused traffic to slow along Interstate 20 for part of the afternoon.

The officers were part of a perimeter that covered the area surrounded by Johnson Road, Flat Shoals Road and Parker Road that was set up by police to search for suspects involved in a car theft that was reported earlier in the day at Peoples Bank on Ga. Highway 138.

A Georgia State Patrol helicopter from Athens and RCSO K-9 units were also used in the search.

According to Conyers Police Chief David Cathcart, a green Honda Accord that had been reported stolen was spotted traveling south across the Parker Road bridge about 1:30 p.m. by CPD Major Scott Freeman, who was traveling north on Parker Road. Freeman said the car resembled the one described in a lookout, so he turned around and followed the car.

"When I passed them, all four of them turned around to take a good look at me, so I knew I had something going on," Freeman said.

Freeman followed the Honda as it turned left onto a spur road and then made another left turn onto Iris Drive at Eastside Community Bank.

Freeman followed the car and watched as the four suspects jumped out of the car as it was still moving. The men ran into a wooded area while the car crashed into a concrete stormwater culvert in front of an insurance agency on Iris Drive.

Two men, whose identities were not available at press time, were arrested almost immediately, Cathcart said, while two other suspects remained at large.

Rockdale Career Academy on Culpepper Drive was placed on lockdown for more than an hour as a precaution. Students were prevented from leaving the campus during the search. Buses that normally begin arriving at RCA at 3 p.m. were allowed to pick up students from RCA shortly after 4 p.m., according to Cindy Ball, public information officer for Rockdale County Public Schools.

Heritage High School was also put on lockdown briefly and then students were released after it was determined to be safe, she said.

Ball said the lockdown caused some disruption in transporting students from the other schools in the county.

"We delayed dismissal at all of the schools because the buses can't leave RCA and get the kids back," she said. "At the Career Academy, those kids go back to their home schools, so it has a domino effect."

Police broke the search perimeter about 5 p.m. Conyers police continued with heavy patrols in the evening in the area around Culpepper and Commercial drives.

Jay Jones can be reached at jay.jones@rockdalecitizen.com.

Citizen Staff Reporter Michelle Floyd contributed to this article.