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Driver tries to swim away in Lake Lanier after wreck
A spirited attempt to flee the scene of a crash Monday on Ga. 400 did not end well for a 24-year-old Dawsonville man. - photo by Photo courtesy of the Forsyth County Sheriff's Office

CUMMING — A Dawsonville man nearly completed a triathlon in his attempt to flee from the scene of a crash Monday, first running from the vehicle and then trying to swim away in Lake Lanier.

Tyler O’Donnell, 24, ran his 2002 Dodge Dakota off the road at the Ga. 400 bridge over the lake between Bald Ridge Marina and Pilgrim Mill roads (Exits 15 and 16) about 2:40 p.m., according to Epifanio Rodriguez, a spokesman for the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office.

As O’Donnell swam in the lake in the hopes of avoiding arrest, deputies on a nearby boat followed him to a small, heavily wooded peninsula, where he was taken into custody.

O’Donnell has an extensive criminal history, Rodriguez said, including theft, burglary and drug-related charges.

As of Tuesday morning, he remained in the Forsyth County Jail on a $3,140.50 bond and had been placed on a 24-hour probation hold, Rodriguez said.

The Georgia State Patrol is handling the crash investigation.

O’Donnell has been charged with hit and run, failure to notify owner upon striking fixture, driving while license suspended or revoked and failure to maintain lane, according to Robin Stone, a GSP spokeswoman.

He was reportedly wearing his seatbelt and was not injured in the wreck, which didn’t involve other vehicles.

Stone said he was traveling north on Ga. 400 in the right lane and began to enter the east shoulder.

A witness, who was driving next to O’Donnell, reported he saw the driver appear to be asleep at the wheel as the pickup began to drive off the road, so he blew his horn.

O’Donnell apparently then drove back off the road, rolling at least three times and hitting the end of a guard rail before striking trees, where his vehicle came to a rest.

After the crash, he fled on foot and was apprehended a few hours later.