Driver, 21, arrested after Porsche SLAMS into Atlanta strip mall and sparks fire


Porsche driver, 21, fleeing cops SLAMS into Atlanta strip mall sparking massive fire that guts multiple businesses before he’s arrested

  • Driver Theodore Merchant was fleeing the Georgia State Patrol when he rammed into the Piedmont Plaza strip mall, sparking a fire 
  • The chase began around 4:05am when a GSP trooper recorded the Porsche Cayenne going 105mph in a 55mph zone on the Downtown Connector
  • The trooper caught up to the driver before he fled again before the crash
  • The impact of the crash caused a fire that started in a finance business and spread to several other businesses in the strip mall, including a Papa John’s
  • The fire department was ultimately able to contain the fire with the help of an aerial attack around 6am
  • Merchant was arrested and is being treated for minor injuries at a hospital
  • He is expected to be booked at the Fulton County Jail later on Friday

A Porsche Cayenne slammed into a strip mall in northeast Atlanta on Friday morning, damaging several businesses as a fire sparked.

The driver, identified as Theodore Merchant, 21, of Virginia Beach, was fleeing the Georgia State Patrol when he rammed into the Piedmont Plaza strip mall.

The strip mall is on Piedmont Road near Cheshire Bridge Road, the GSP said to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The fire department was ultimately able to contain a fire at an Atlanta strip mall on Friday morning with the help of an aerial attack

The fire department was ultimately able to contain a fire at an Atlanta strip mall on Friday morning with the help of an aerial attack

The fire was started after a Porsche Cayenne drove into the strip mall while eluding cops

The fire was started after a Porsche Cayenne drove into the strip mall while eluding cops

The fire was started after a Porsche Cayenne drove into the strip mall while eluding cops

The crash happened in the early morning hours, with firefighters battling flames until at least 6am. 

WSB-TV reports the chase began around 4:05am when a GSP trooper recorded the Porsche Cayenne going 105mph in a 55mph zone on the Downtown Connector.

The trooper managed to catch up to the driver before he fled again, which led up to the crash.

‘At the intersection of Cheshire Bridge and Piedmont Circle, the vehicle continued straight across the intersection, running over a raised concrete island before leaving the roadway,’ a GSP spokeswoman said.

‘The Porsche struck and traveled into a row of buildings,’ she added. 

The impact of the crash caused a fire that started in a finance business and spread to several other businesses in the strip mall, including a Papa John’s.

The incident started when the driver of the Porsche was clocked going 50mph over the limit

The incident started when the driver of the Porsche was clocked going 50mph over the limit

The incident started when the driver of the Porsche was clocked going 50mph over the limit

Following a chase, the driver careened over a raised concrete island and into the plaza

Following a chase, the driver careened over a raised concrete island and into the plaza

Following a chase, the driver careened over a raised concrete island and into the plaza

Anita Ford, who owns the plaza, told the Journal-Constitution that this is not the first vehicular incident at the strip mall.

‘It’s not the first time a car has run into the building from that corner, but it’s the first time that it caused this much damage,’ Ford said.

‘There was a substantial amount of fire,’ Atlanta fire Battalion Chief Douglas Hatcher stated. ‘Some structural damage and sagging of the roof — that’s why we haven’t sent anybody back inside.’

The charred remains of the Porsche Cayenne were all that were left after the crash

The charred remains of the Porsche Cayenne were all that were left after the crash

The charred remains of the Porsche Cayenne were all that were left after the crash

The driver was taken to the hospital with minor injuries after he was arrested

The driver was taken to the hospital with minor injuries after he was arrested

The driver was taken to the hospital with minor injuries after he was arrested

The fire department was ultimately able to contain the fire with the help of an aerial attack around 6am, according to FOX 5 Atlanta.

Once the fire was put out, the fire department worked on removing the wrecked Porsche from the building it was in.

Meanwhile, Merchant was arrested and is being treated for minor injuries at Grady Memorial Hospital, but was expected to be booked at the Fulton County Jail afterwards.

It’s not clear the extent of the damage of the strip mall, which also includes a Supercuts and a chiropractor’s office. 

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