CONYERS — A Covington man who said he was “scared” fled from a Rockdale County Sheriff’s Office investigator, weaving in and out of traffic on Ga. Highway 138 before stopping in the parking lot of a shopping center on Parker Road.
Investigator Jason Payne attempted to pull over a red Ford Probe driven by 41-year-old Eric Michael Long around 3:30 p.m. Monday that he saw driving erratically on Interstate 20 East. As the car pulled onto the Ga. 138 exit, Payne said he expected the driver to stop somewhere on the ramp. Instead, Long accelerated and used the shoulder of the roadway to go around traffic and almost caused an accident as he exited onto the busy highway, the incident report states.
“The driver then quickly turned right into a strip mall located at the intersection of Old Salem Road and Highway 138,” Payne reported. “The driver now accelerated again and almost hit a vehicle head-on in the parking lot of the strip mall.”
Long then drove out of the parking lot, almost striking another vehicle as he crossed over Iris Drive and into a gas station. He then drove around the building before getting back on Ga. 138, heading south.
“The driver continued to flee at a speed of 40 mph on Highway 138 as he proceeded through intersections, went around cars, showing zero concern for those around him,” Payne stated in the report.
As Long approached the intersection of Flat Shoals Road, he stopped briefly as traffic was backed up.
“At this time, I suspected the driver would abandon the vehicle and flee on foot, but instead the driver forced his way between two vehicles at the intersection and struck a 2011 Ford Escape in the process,” the investigator reported.
Long turned right onto Flat Shoals Road and increased speed, driving through the intersection with Parker Road before turning left into the Corner Market strip mall. He drove through the parking lot and lost control of his car, almost striking a parked vehicle, and finally coming to a stop, facing RCSO patrol cars.
“At this point, the driver exited the vehicle and was escorted to the ground where he was arrested,” Payne stated.
The investigator said he could smell of marijuana coming from Long and a small amount of marijuana was found inside his car.
“I asked the subject why did he run and he stated he was scared,” Payne reported.
Long, of 335 Trelawney Circle in Covington, was arrested and charged with fleeing and attempting to elude police, failure to maintain lane, failure to stop at an accident and possession of marijuana.