What began as a routine traffic stop on Sunday resulted in a police chase that did not end until Calhoun Police Department officers used "stop sticks" to deflate the tires of the fleeing vehicle, causing the suspect, who was wanted in another state, to crash.
The driver, Terrell McNeill, 28, of 3252 Shamrock Drive in Fayetteville, North Carolina, now faces a litany of charges.
According to CPD reports, an officer pulled over McNeill late Sunday after he made a left turn off of Wall Street, nearly causing a wreck. There was also an adult passenger and two children inside the vehicle.
McNeill told the officer he did not have a driver's license, and dispatch informed another officer the white Buick Lesabre with a paper drive off tag that McNeill was driving had been reported stolen.
When officers asked McNeill to turn off the vehicle he instead pulled off and accelerated north on King Street. Police say McNeill then ran
the stop sign at King and West Line streets, turning left onto West Line Street. He then ran a red light at West Line and River streets, speeding west on Highway 156.
Reports say the Buick was all over the road, passing cars and exceeding more than 100 mph. The chase came to an end near Beamer Road after an officer deployed "stop sticks," a tool intended to puncture and deflate tires. After McNeill ran over the sticks he drove a few hundred feet and tried to turn into a driveway but crashed into a ditch instead. McNeill then fled into the nearby woods.
Officers found and arrested McNeill. They later discovered he had felony warrants in another state. They also found a drive off tag that had been reported stolen from the Walmart earlier in the day. McNeill was charged with felony obstruction, cruelty to children in the first degree, fleeing or attempting to elude, possession of a stolen vehicle, suspended license, failure to yield while turning left, failure to stop at a stop sign, running a red light, theft by receiving stolen property, failure to maintain lane, theft by bringing stolen property into the state and fugitive from justice.
The adult passenger and two children were unharmed during the chase and a police officer gave them a ride to a local hotel where they were staying.
The Calhoun Times will be relocating today, but the good news is the newspaper and its staff will be just be across the railroad tracks from the previous location in downtown Calhoun.
Beginning today the Calhoun Times office will now be located at 210 King St., Suite D. The office will be closed until after 1 p.m. today as the staff works to get the new location set up.
The previous office was located at 301 South Park Ave., but that building is currently up for sale and the owner requested the news organization vacate the property.
Anyone looking to visit the Calhoun Times to place an ad, buy a subscription, talk to a reporter, or conduct any other sort of business will find the newspaper staff at the new location after today.
"It's always exciting to move to a new place," said Managing Editor Daniel Bell. "We're glad to still be in downtown Calhoun, with quick and easy access to all areas of the city and Gordon County as we work to bring the community the news."
Office hours will remain the same, so the paper will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. The phone number — 706-629-2231 — will remain the same as well.
Visitors to the office are a common occurrence, so Bell said he wants everyone to spread the word about the move. He also noted that signs redirecting visitors will remain on the South Park Avenue building until the end of the month, and the newspaper will include a reminder for a few weeks until word gets around.
"The most important thing is that our readers know we are still in Calhoun, that we still have a full staff here every day, and that folks are welcome to stop by or call if they need assistance or have a news tip we need to share with the community," Bell said.
The Edna Owens Breast Center at AdventHealth Gordon opened to patients on Monday with the goal of streamlining care and providing the community with a one-stop, patient-focused center for the rapid diagnosis and comprehensive treatment of breast diseases.
Last week, AdventHealth Gordon hosted a luncheon for the foundation board, the breast cancer team and the contractors and construction team in the new Edna Owens Breast Center.
The Edna Owens Breast Center offers 3D mammography, bone density, ultrasound and nurse
navigators, as well as a coordinated medical team focused on breast health.
"When women need their annual mammogram, there is absolutely no reason for them to go anywhere other than here," said Lanell Jacobs, director of oncology services at AdventHealth Gordon.
Jacobs is a breast cancer survivor herself and received her breast cancer treatment in another state prior to coming on board at AdventHealth Gordon. She has helped design and build several breast centers around the Southeast and used her experience as a patient to create a center that filled in the gaps that she felt was missing in her care.
"I received good care," said Jacobs, "but our goal is to provide our patients with the best care."
Since mid-2018, AdventHealth Gordon has been embarking on a $24 million capital project to enhance the services provided to the community. In addition to the construction of the Edna Owens Breast Center, this capital project includes a new Baby Place, an expanded operating room and dedicated cardiac catheterization lab. The expanded operating room opened this spring, the Baby Place will open later this summer, and the dedicated cardiac catheterization lab is slated to open in January 2020.
"We are excited about each piece of the overall project because they will allow us to better serve our community," said Pete Weber, president and CEO of AdventHealth Gordon.
The center was made possible thanks to the generous support of longtime Calhoun residents the late George and Edna Owens, as well as the AdventHealth Gordon Foundation Board.
Calhoun City Schools Superintendent Michele Taylor attended last week's legislative advocacy conference held in Washington, D.C., to talk to lawmakers about her concerns regarding the future of public education.
Taylor is a member of the American Association of School Administrators' Governing Board, and board members have dual responsibilities: rhey represent their home state on the governing board and they report the work of the governing board to their home state affiliate.
"As an AASA Governing Board member, I see the value of connecting with U.S. Senators Johnny Isakson and David Perdue, as well as many of our U.S. representatives in Congress," said Taylor. "I know Congressman Graves personally, having graduated from the Gordon County Chamber of Commerce's Leadership Calhoun Gordon County Program in 2002 with him. School superintendents appreciate that he takes the time to meet with local and state representatives from all sectors of the community, especially education."
Taylor attended the event with fellow superintendents Eric Arena of Putnam County Schools, Michael Duncan of Pike County Schools and Jason Branch of Oconee County Schools. She said her primary topics of concern were school safety, community health and mental health.
"Superintendents from all 50 states have multiple opportunities to advocate for public education throughout the year. The annual advocacy conference is a time for school leaders to meet with policy analysts and to discuss legislative priorities that promote public education," Taylor explained. "Georgia is blessed to have all 180 school districts represented in the national association. The only other state that has 100% participation is Alabama."
She said the legislators she and the other superintendents met with were receptive to their input, and she was grateful to the lawmakers for making time during the start of the current legislative session to meet with them.
"It's important to share our school success stories and to also highlight many of the challenges our school face," Taylor said. "We need to be the voice for our children and to advocate on their behalf every chance we get."
She went on to day that Calhoun City Schools appreciates the support of U.S. Senators Isakson and Perdue and U.S. Representatives Tom Graves, Drew Ferguson and Jody Hice, who took time out of their busy schedules to meet with superintendents.