Monticello man lead deputies on wild chase

COVINGTON -- A Monticello man was taken into custody early Saturday morning after he allegedly led Newton County Sheriff's Office deputies on a high-speed chase that ended in a collision with a tree and a foot-chase through woods.

Frankie Shawn Meeks Jr., 18, of 157 Jasper St., Lot 13, faces multiple charges following the incident, including theft by receiving stolen property, fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer, reckless driving, criminal trespass, obstruction or hindering a law enforcement officer and theft by taking auto. The truck he was driving was reported stolen from the Newton County Board of Education transportation facility on Covington Bypass Road where the metal entrance gate was found forced open.

Deputy T.D. Allen reported that he and Deputy E. Adcock were on slow patrol on Ga. Highway 36 near Willow Springs Drive at about 4 a.m. Saturday in response to a report that a man in the area had threatened to commit suicide.

The two deputies were stopped in the roadway -- one facing north and the other facing south with emergency lights activated -- to discuss possible locations where the suicidal subject might be found when Deputy Adcock noticed a vehicle approaching southbound at a high rate of speed. According to the report, it did not appear that the vehicle was going to stop, so both deputies pulled their cars off the roadway.

According to Allen's report, the suspect vehicle, a Ford F-150 pickup truck, swerved at the last second to avoid hitting either of the patrol vehicles. The deputies began to pursue the truck in an effort make a traffic stop; however, the driver continued southbound on Ga. Highway 36, increased his speed, and turned off the vehicle's lights while traveling on the wrong side of the road. Allen reported that traffic was light at that time of day; however, two oncoming cars were forced to pull off the road in order to avoid a collision with the pickup truck.

The suspect driver made a left turn onto Ga. Highway 212 without stopping at the red blinking light at the intersection and headed toward Jasper County. According to Allen's report, the truck swerved back and forth across the center line numerous times and reached speeds of 90 mph.

Once inside Jasper County, the driver made a right turn onto Jasper Street and continued to swerve from one side of the road to the other, almost overturning at one point, according to Allen.

The driver then lost control and crashed head-on into a large tree at the driveway of 95 Jasper St., Allen wrote.

"The driver left the vehicle's transmission in the drive position, and the vehicle's rear tires continued to spin in the direction of the tree," Allen wrote in his report. "(The suspect) attempted to open the driver side door, but he could not exit the vehicle. He then used his fists to shatter the right passenger side door glass, he flung himself out of the broken window and fled into the woods."

Deputies Allen and Adcock pursued the suspect into the woods where they ordered him to stop several times. Adcock deployed his Taser, which did not make solid contact with the suspect, but did cause him to lose his balance and fall, according to Allen.

Deputies ordered the suspect to show his right hand and when he failed to comply he was Tasered again. "Hard hands techniques" were used to place the suspect in handcuffs, according to the report.

Allen returned to the suspect's vehicle to turn off the ignition while Adcock escorted the suspect out of the woods. At that point, the suspect became incoherent and Jasper Emergency Services was called to the scene to provide medical treatment. The suspect stated that he had ingested some methamphetamine earlier, according to the report. In addition, Allen reported the suspect had an odor of alcohol on his breath.

The suspect was taken by air ambulance to Atlanta Medical Center for treatment. He has since been transferred to the Newton County Detention Center.