COVINGTON - A traffic stop on Oct. 10 yielded a shoe box containing 54.3 grams of suspected cocaine and more than $4,000 in cash, according to the Newton County Sheriff's Office.
After a harrowing vehicle and foot chase, the suspect, Morris Alonzo Thrasher, 25, of 60 Whitehead Drive, was arrested and charged with trafficking in cocaine, failure to maintain lane, fleeing and attempting to elude, open container, obstruction of a law enforcement officer, speeding 25 to 34 mph over the limit, failure to stop at a stop sign, reckless driving and mandatory suspension of license.
According to an incident report completed by Deputy Justin Hipps, he was patrolling in the area of Chestnut Drive when he saw a blue GMC Yukon run off the road several times.
He stopped the vehicle at the intersection of Chestnut Drive and Ga. Highway 162 and said the driver seemed especially nervous as he looked for his insurance card.
"I noticed a small shoe box sitting in the passenger seat. I could see through a hole in the shoe box. I noticed a plastic bag inside and that raised my suspicion as to what was in the box," the report states.
Another deputy arrived as a backup, and according to Hipps' report, as he walked back to the deputy's car to tell him what was happening, the driver of the Yukon accelerated and drove away.
Hipps and the second deputy pursued the vehicle down Ga. Highway 162, averaging speeds of 75 to 80 mph.
"The driver passed several vehicles causing other oncoming vehicles to swerve off the roadway," Hipps said in the report.
Hipps said the driver turned into Mountain View Estates and continued driving recklessly through the subdivision, but when he turned onto Mountain Court, there was no exit and he jumped out of the vehicle and fled on foot.
"I noticed the driver was also carrying the shoe box that I observed in the passenger seat in his right hand," the report states.
Hipps said he chased the suspect into a wooded area where he tripped on a log and fell to the ground. He said he ordered him to stay there or he would Taser him; however, the suspect got up tried to run again. Hipps said he Tasered him, but the prongs did not make connection. The second deputy arrived and Tasered him, "causing the suspect to obey the commands," Hipps said.
Thrasher was taken into custody and Hipps said when he looked into the shoe box, he found several bags of suspected cocaine, individual plastic bags and two black digital scales with white residue on them. Using the suspect's scales, the suspected cocaine weighed 54.3 grams.
The report states that when Hipps searched the suspect before he placed him in the rear of his patrol car, he found $4,023 in cash in his pants pocket. He also found three open containers in the vehicle - two 12-ounce beers and one 24-ounce beer.
The Covington/Newton Special Investigation Unit is continuing to investigate the matter.
Barbara Knowles can be reached at email@example.com.