Armed teenagers arrested after high-speed chase in busy shopping center parking lot

Three teenagers, who deputies say were armed and breaking into cars in Coweta County, were arrested. They face serious charges after a high-speed chase through a busy shopping center parking lot.

Deputies in Coweta County say there are no statistics on this, but there is the feeling this is a rising trend: teens in stolen cars, running from the law at high speeds. Some of them are armed.

A deputy spotted a stolen car in the Ashley Park shopping center in Newnan on June 2. When he tried to pull over the driver, the car accelerated.

The deputy says the driver sped through the parking area, which was full of pedestrians.

After the PIT maneuver, the driver and two passengers bailed and ran for it. They say the driver dropped a bag with a handgun in it. They say they later found a stolen handgun in the car.

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A 17-year-old driver was arrested after a high-speed chase through a crowded parking lot in Newnan on June 2, 2023. (Coweta County Sheriff's Office)

Deputies captured the driver in the woods behind a different shopping center. He was identified as 17-year-old Jason Lewis Stephenson from Albany.

He’s charged with theft by receiving stolen property, possession of a firearm during a crime, obstruction of officers, driving without a license and reckless driving.

The 16-year-olds were not identified because of their age. They are also facing serious felony charges. Deputies say they found evidence the three had been breaking into cars in the area.