A pair of 17-year-olds from Milledgeville were recently arrested on criminal charges following a vehicle chase that left a deputy sheriff injured.
The incident happened Saturday, March 27, shortly before 9 p.m. on Broad Street and Thomas Field Road.
Although not seriously injured, deputy Joshua Holcomb was taken to Atrium Navicent Baldwin hospital in Milledgeville where he was treated and later released.
The suspects were identified as Jarmaris Jermaine Walls and Jequan Eekirial Curry, both of the 100 block of Harrisburg Road, according to an incident report filed by Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Brandon Towe.
Walls was charged with aggravated assault of a peace officer, fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer, reckless driving, lighted headlights required at certain times, brake lights, and turn signals required, and driving without a license.
Curry, meanwhile, was charged with Violation of the Georgia Controlled Substances Act for possession of marijuana.
After the suspects were arrested, they were taken to the Baldwin County Law Enforcement Center where they were jailed.
Towe said he was patrolling in the area of Irwinton Road when his patrol car’s Automatic License Plate Recognition System alerted him to a dark-colored Honda passing him on the opposite side of the roadway. The ALPR indicated the car had an expired vehicle registration and no insurance.
The deputy said when he turned around to catch up with the car, he lost contact with it. But he noticed a car in front of him did not have a properly working passenger’s side brake light, and he turned on his blue lights and siren to make a traffic stop.
The driver of the car, later identified as Walls, made a right turn onto Thomas Field Road and began “rapidly accelerating,” Towe said in his report.
Seconds later, the deputy alerted a 911 dispatcher that he was involved in a vehicle pursuit.
Towe said the driver was speeding between 60 and 70 mph in a 35 mph zone along Thomas Field Road.
The car later made a left turn onto Ogden Terrace, where the driver briefly lost control, according to the deputy. The car traveled off the wrong side of the roadway and nearly collided with a mailbox. The driver ran at least three stop signs in the immediate area.
“The vehicle then passed another vehicle in a no passing zone on two separate occasions while on Harrisburg Road,” Towe said.
The driver of the car fleeing from the deputy ran another stop sign, made a left turn onto Allen Memorial Drive, and then a right turn onto Helen Lane.
Deputy Holcomb joined the pursuit as the secondary unit and began taking care of the radio traffic, Towe said.
As the driver of the car turned onto Allen Drive Extension, he turned off his headlights during the remainder of the pursuit, the deputy added.
The suspect later got back onto Allen Memorial Drive where Deputy Sgt. Jerome Roberts joined the pursuit, according to Towe.
“…I knew that a dangerous intersection (Allen Memorial Drive and Georgia Route 29 South) was approaching, so I asked Sgt. Roberts to move ahead of the vehicle in an attempt to slow him down before approaching the intersection and warn vehicles up ahead of the vehicle pursuit,” Towe said.
Officers with the Milledgeville Police Department were later requested to get ahead of the pursuit, to try and attempt to block the upcoming intersections.
Towe said he and Roberts both heard a police officer say that the intersection of Ga. Route 49 and Ga. Route 29 South was congested.
“At this point in the pursuit, I feared that if I called off the pursuit, the vehicle would still continue through that intersection at a high rate of speed and endanger the lives of others, whether I was pursuing him or not,” Towe said.
The deputy said he and other lawmen were told that a trooper with the Georgia State Patrol was attempting to catch up to them and take over the pursuit.
“Sgt. Roberts and I again decided it was in the best interest of the public for us to try and slow down the fleeing vehicle before approaching the busy intersection,” Towe said.
The deputies said they thought it also provided a chance for the state trooper to catch up to them in an attempt to end the pursuit by performing a specialized PIT maneuver.
Sgt. Roberts moved in front of the suspect’s car and then Towe moved up beside it, while Holcomb moved in behind the suspect’s car.
Towe said the driver of the car slammed on brakes in an attempt to “brake check” Holcomb, causing Holcomb to have to slam on his brakes. He also had to move over into the next lane to provide the driver of the car room to avoid a collision.
Seconds later, Towe said he witnessed the driver of the car purposely ram into the side of Holcomb’s patrol car.
“It was apparent to me that this act was an intentional act due to the fact that he knew Deputy Holcomb was beside him and he completely turned his vehicle into Deputy Holcomb’s patrol car at a high rate of speed,” Towe said.
The estimated speed of the suspect’s car at the time was between 50 and 60 mph, the deputy added.
Holcomb’s patrol vehicle was thrown into the median and slid sideways across the median, almost causing it to overturn, Towe said.
The suspects were arrested a short time later without further incident.
Holcomb managed to get out of his patrol vehicle and then ordered both suspects onto the ground at gunpoint. Both suspects heeded his commands.
Firefighters/first responders from Baldwin County and Milledgeville Fire Rescue Services came to the scene, as did personnel from Grady Emergency Medical Services to check on Holcomb and the two suspects.