Man arrested after trying to flee stop

Published 9:03 am Tuesday, June 25, 2013

A Bainbridge driver was arrested early Saturday for attempting to drive away from a police officer who was trying to turn off the car’s ignition during a traffic stop, according to an incident report.

At 2:40 a.m. Saturday, Bainbridge Public Safety officers and at least one Sheriff’s deputy responded to Yesterday’s Diner on Shotwell Street to perform crowd control. Officers had noticed a large number of people in the restaurant and several illegally-parked vehicles in the adjacent gas station’s parking lot.

Officer Gary Hines noticed a man backing up a Buick Century and almost striking another parked vehicle. Hines stated in the report that he recognized the driver as Erick V’Shaun Benton, 24, of 729 Fleming Street, Bainbridge, because he had been arrested this past April for driving with a suspended license.

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Hines noticed Benton moving around inside the vehicle and acting very nervous. In addition, Hines smelled the odor of alcohol coming from inside the car.

BPS officers requested assistance from Sheriff’s Deputy Jason Williams, who has a trained drug search dog named Bella. As Williams and Bella approached Benton’s car, Benton reportedly cranked the car back up and started to put the car into drive.

Hines reached in the car, holding onto the gear shift, and attempted to turn the car off. BPS Cpl. Tom Foster quickly opened the car’s passenger door and attempted to help get Benton under control. Benton reportedly pushed the accelerator to the floor and attempted to drive away while officers partially inside his vehicle yelled at him to stop.

The driver refused and continued struggling with officers, who were finally able to pull him from the car, force him to the ground and handcuff him. However, he continued to struggle and curse at officers.

During a search of Benton’s car, officers found a plastic bag containing two pieces of suspected crack cocaine. A partially-full pint of brandy was located under the driver’s seat. The discovery of the narcotics caused Benton to begin yelling at officers again, making threats to fight with them.

Benton was charged with possession of cocaine, open container, felony obstruction of officers, driving while license suspended/revoked and DUI.


Juveniles charged after auto thefts

Two juveniles were arrested by the Sheriff’s Office on Friday in connection with an investigation into a rash of auto break-ins.

Several residents of Hunter Road, located off Old Whigham Road about two miles northeast of Bainbridge, had reported their vehicles were broken into sometime on Thursday night or early Friday.

Investigator Redell Walton, who investigated the reports along with Investigator Terry Phillips, said that while documenting the thefts on Friday, he recognized a set of footprints found near the crime scenes.

Four residents of Pineridge Drive and Hillcrest Road, just northeast of Bainbridge off Georgia State Route 97 North, had reported auto break-ins on Monday, June 17, according to Walton.

Walton said investigators matched a set of footprints found in both neighborhoods on different days.

That helped lead to the arrest of the two juveniles.

“Additionally, deputies had made contact with these juveniles before and their names had came up with complaints about them being out at night and one about them hiding in a shed,” Walton said.

The two boys were charged in Juvenile Court with nine counts of entering an auto, manufacturing marijuana, misdemeanor possession of marijuana and misdemeanor obstruction of an officer.