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Driver who fled officer hospitalized

COVINGTON - A man who allegedly crashed his vehicle after fleeing from a Covington police officer during the early morning hours Saturday is listed in critical condition at an Atlanta hospital.

According to Capt. Ken Malcom of the Covington Police Department, an officer attempted to execute a traffic stop on a vehicle on Monticello Street shortly before 3 a.m., after he noticed it had a broken taillight and that the driver wasn't wearing his seat belt.

The driver, Tony Lamar Lynch, 24, of 4308 Carrol St., subsequently wrecked the vehicle as he struck a tree near the intersection of Monticello Street and Ellen Court.

"There was no chase. The vehicle initially looked like it was going to stop and then it increased its speed. When it increased its speed, the officer did not pursue the vehicle," Malcom said. "The officer continued to travel in the direction where the vehicle left and then discovered it had wrecked a short distance from where he initially tried to pull the vehicle over."

Malcom said the officer then rendered aid to Lynch, who was subsequently taken by Air Ambulance to Grady Memorial Hospital where he is listed in critical condition.

Lynch has been charged with defective equipment, open container, seat belt violation, driving without a license and possession of marijuana.

In other crime news, a man who allegedly led Newton County authorities on a car chase and then attempted to flee on foot was taken into custody last week.

In the early evening hours this past Tuesday, Lt. Mark Mitchell, spokesman for the Newton County Sheriff's Office, said 911 dispatch received a call from a resident in the Jamestown community who reported that a man driving a Dodge Neon drove up, got into a fight with someone and then left the scene.

Deputy Roderick White later spotted a vehicle matching the description of the suspect's car on Hill Top Drive and a chase ensued.

White reportedly chased the vehicle for a short period of time, after which the suspect, James Lamar Hurst, 46, of 10109 Broken Branch Court, stopped his car and fled on foot.

The deputy gave chase but temporarily lost sight of Hurst, Mitchell said. Other deputies who responded to the scene eventually spotted the suspect, who jumped a nearby fence.

Hurst was reportedly found by deputies lying under some brush and was taken into custody following a brief struggle.

Hurst faces numerous charges, including obstruction, open container, failure to maintain lane, no proof of insurance, reckless driving, fleeing or attempting to elude a law enforcement officer, driving with a suspended license, suspended vehicle registration, unlawful use of a license plate and two counts of stop sign violation.

Joel Griffin can be reached at joel.griffin@newtoncitizen.com.