Driver crashes, dies after Maury Co. police chase - WSMV Channel 4

Driver crashes, dies after Maury Co. police chase

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MOUNT PLEASANT, TN (WSMV) -

A Columbia man died after his vehicle crashed into a creek during a police chase in Maury County early Sunday morning.  The man's girlfriend was in the vehicle and had to be flown to Vanderbilt Medical Center in Nashville.

According to the Tennessee Highway Patrol, the crash happened just before 4 a.m. near the intersection of Ashwood and Canaan Roads. 

"It was just a big boom," said Ruth Mayes, a neighbor who witnessed the wreck.

State troopers said Matthew Franklin Williams, 21, was traveling at a high rate of speed and lost control of his SUV while negotiating a curve.

Minutes later, Mayes said she heard sirens.

"I know that the police were after them after sirens went down the road," said Mayes.

Mt. Pleasant Police Chief Tommy Goetz said his officers had clocked Williams driving over 70 miles per hour, and officers were working to catch up with him.

Police said the vehicle traveled off the left side of the roadway, went airborne and rolled down a wooded embankment into a creek. 

The next sound neighbors heard would be haunting.

"I still heard somebody say 'help me, help me.' It was a young lady hollering for help," Mayes said.

The woman was identified as Haley D. Linam, 19, of Columbia. She was flown to Vanderbilt for treatment.

State troopers said neither Williams nor Linam wore a seat belt.

Neighbors said police had to pass by at least once because they could not see the wreck. It's believed Williams had turned off his headlights during the chase.

"Anytime you are trying to get away from police you know it's going to result in an accident, most of the time. You don't get away. You might as well give up right there," Mayes said.

The THP has requested toxicology tests on both Williams and Linam.

THP officials said the incident remains under investigation.

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