Troopers urge caution for holiday travel period

Published 9:09 pm Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Atlanta—Impaired driving and the lack of seat belt use top the list of violations Georgia State Troopers will be targeting during the upcoming Christmas holiday travel period. The 102-hour travel period begins Christmas Eve at 6 p.m. and ends at midnight Sunday, December 28.

Last year during the 102-hour Christmas holiday travel period, Georgia recorded 18 traffic deaths, 3,039 crashes, and 1,158 injuries.

Colonel Bill Hitchens, Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Safety, said Wednesday Georgia State Troopers and officers from the DPS Motor Carrier Compliance and Capitol Police divisions will be closely watching for impaired drivers during holiday patrols. He noted troopers and officers will be conducting concentrated patrols on secondary roads and the interstates. “In addition, sobriety checkpoints will also be established across the state during the holiday weekend,” Colonel Hitchens said.

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The Commissioner noted that eight of the 18 traffic deaths last year involved an alcohol or drug impaired driver, and six of the 14 fatalities in passenger cars were not wearing seat belts.

“The traffic crash data from the Department of Transportation bears out the reasons troopers and officers will be patrolling throughout the holiday period,” he said. “We want everyone to enjoy the holiday season while making traffic safety a priority as they travel. Remember also, you can help law enforcement officers keep our roads safe by reporting suspected impaired drivers to the nearest Georgia State Patrol post by calling Star G-S-P (*477) on your cell phone,” he said.

False alarm on suicide threat

Shortly after 10 p.m. on Dec. 16, E-911 received a call from a home on Flint River Heights Road with the caller threatening suicide.

When Decatur County Sheriff’s deputies arrived, they found the back door of the home open and called out for someone to come to the door. Hearing no response, deputies entered the home and found the resident in the front bedroom facing away from them, according to incident reports. They ordered him to get down and the ground and place his hand behind his back. He got down on his knees but reportedly did not put his hands behind his back and began to resist, struggling with the officers. The man was told he would be shocked with a taser weapon if he didn’t stop, and was shocked twice in the buttocks before he stopped struggling.

In custody, the man told officers he had not called in the threat and said he had loaned his phone to a another man, who walked up to the home during the incident. The phone was found on the ground outside the home. The other man also denied calling in the threat. DCSO Captain Justin Bedwell went to E-911 and, listening to the playback of the call, determined the home’s resident did not make the call. However, Bedwell was unable to positively identify the second man as the caller. Both men were released.

Arrests & Citations

The following is an incomplete list of arrests and citations, occurring between Dec. 16-23, have been reported by Bainbridge Public Safety and the Decatur County Jail:

• Jeffrey Scott Erwin, 33, 2154 Bethel Road, Bainbridge, DUI, GSP;

• Carolyn Denise Perkins, 37, 1517 Troupe St., Bainbridge, shoplifting (first offense), bench warrant, SO;

• Scotty Ray Richardson, 35, 1508 E. Woodland Drive, Bainbridge, speeding, driving while license is suspended or revoked, GSP;

• Homersa Janet Ellington, 29, Opa-Locka, Fla., headlight out, driving while license suspended or revoked, BPS;

• Michael Thomas Lyn Cox, 23, 3148 Spring Creek Road, Brinson, disorderly conduct, SO;

• Ashley Eric Gibson, 31, 109 Bruce Road, Attapulgus, failure to appear, BPS;

• Joe Lee Jackson, 20, Willacoochee, Ga., crossing guardlines with cell phone, SO;

• Vachon Romel Raye, 29, 1153 Airport Road, Bainbridge, possession of marijuana by inmate, SO;

• Beafous Williams II, 25, 3221 Tallahassee Hwy., Attapulgus, disorderly conduct, obstruction (two counts), BPS;

• Kahawia Woodard, 36, 1732 Bethel Road, Apt. 19-A, Bainbridge, no insurance, BPS.