NCSO responds to shooting and high-speed chase around Christmas

COVINGTON — No Christmas miracle kept one Covington man out of jail after he led a number of Newton County Sheriff’s Office deputies on a high-speed chase through the county, striking three of the patrol vehicles along the way.

A deputy observed a blue 2001 Ford Expedition traveling at a high rate of speed just before 1 a.m. Christmas morning on U.S. Highway 278 as it turned onto Ga. Highway 142.

As the deputy turned to attempt to make a traffic stop, he saw the SUV speed through a red light and refuse to pull over for the deputy.

“After not stopping, a vehicle chase ensued,” said NCSO Investigator Michael Cunningham.

He said the chase continued down Interstate 20 and then onto Ga. Highway 36. Along the way, the driver, 28-year-old Robert Lee Griffith of 13151 Ga. 36, attempted to ram several of the patrol cars, damaging three of them, Cunningham said.

The chase ended near Flat Shoals Road and the Covington Bypass, according to the incident report.

Cunningham said Griffith was taken to Newton Medical Center for a blood test and then transported to the Newton County Detention Center. He was charged with aggravated assault on a police officer, criminal interference with government property, reckless driving, DUI, fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer and obstruction of officers.

In other news, a Christmas Eve gathering at a home on Bramble Bush Trail took a violent turn when a man fired a gun in the house.

A group of people, including several children, had gathered at the home when two males began arguing. At some point just after 8 p.m., Jeremy Alexander Travis, took out a handgun, pointed it at the other man before turning it toward the ground and firing one shot, Investigator Cunningham said.

Travis, 27, of 200 Bramble Bush Trail, was arrested and charged with aggravated assault, cruelty to children, use of a firearm by a convicted felon in the commission of a crime and possession of a firearm during a crime.