Weekend chase on GA 53 ends in apprehension of Tennessee fugitive

Jeffrey Thompson

A chase late Friday night initiated by the Georgia State Patrol on GA 53 ended in the apprehension of a fugitive from Tennessee.

Shortly after 11 p.m. on Friday, a trooper was sitting on GA 53 near West Kinman Road, facing north according to the official incident report, when he observed a vehicle on GA 53 that appeared to be traveling faster than the posted speed limit of 55 MPH. The trooper activated his radar and clocked the car, identified as a white Toyota Camry with a Tennessee tag, traveling 75 MPH with his rear radar. The trooper activated his emergency equipment to initiate a traffic stop, then clocked the Camry traveling 100 MPH with the front radar. The trooper advised communications that he was in pursuit of the Camry in the area of GA 53 at the Switch Connector.

The trooper continued to pursue the Camry, which was changing lanes without signaling, continuing into the City of Calhoun at speeds of more than 100 MPH in a 45 MPH zone. The Camry ran the red lights at McDaniel Station Road, S. River Street and W.C. Bryant Parkway, passing vehicles using the left turn lane.

As the chase continued, traveling east on GA 53, the trooper attempted an immobilization technique around Lovers Lane but was unable to do so due to the Camry blocking the attempt.

The trooper continued witnessing the driver of the Camry travel in a reckless manner, using the left turn lane continuously, driving on the wrong side of the road while negotiating the curve at Union Grove Church Road, traveling on the wrong side of the road at Mason Road and passing on a double-yellow line in the area of Plainview Road and again at Erwin Hill Road.

The trooper was able to complete an immobilization technique around Wesley Chapel Road in the Sonoraville community at approximately 11:09 p.m.

The Camry traveled off the south side of the road, striking an embankment, overturning and striking the guardrail before coming to rest down the embankment in thick brush.

By the time the trooper, along with others who had joined the chase, reached the car, the driver was gone. It was determined he had exited the vehicle, jumped a barbed wire fence and fled into a neighboring pasture.

A K-9 unit from the Calhoun Police Department arrived at the scene but was unsuccessful in locating the driver of the Camry. While searching the vehicle, a large quantity of suspected methamphetamine was located, as well as a Davis Industries P380 .380 caliber handgun. GSP Aviation was requested to respond to the scene, due to the seriousness of the charges the driver faced.

An investigator from the Gordon County Sheriff’s Office processed the vehicle and determined the driver was likely Jeffrey Thompson, age 31, of Cleveland, Tenn.

The search was called off in the early morning hours of Saturday, but resumed after daylight. Shortly after 9:30 a.m., Gordon County 911 received a report of a suspicious person at a convenience store in the Sonoraville area. After a search, Thompson was apprehended in a school building he had broken into and taken into custody without incident.

Thompson was transported to Floyd Medical Center to be treated for injuries he sustained in the wreck. According to the incident report, Gordon County Sheriff’s Office will have burglary charges against Thompson related to the school break-in. After a check of his records, it was revealed Thompson had his license revoked previously and was a habitual violator and a convicted felon.

The Georgia State Patrol has charged Thompson with: obstruction of law enforcement officer, felony carrying concealed weapon in commission of a felony, felony possession of firearm by convicted felon, felony VGCSA, felony trafficking, felony driving while declared a habitual violator, failure to signal when turning or changing lanes, improper use of central turn lane, speeding in access of maximum limits, failure to obey traffic-control devices, reckless driving, felony fleeing or attempting to elude police officer, driving on wrong side of road, passing in a no passing zone and failure to maintain lane.

At press time, Thompson was still in Gordon County jail after bond was denied.