By MYRA THRIFT, Staff Writer
MILLWOOD — Two men and a woman were successfully taken into custody on drugs charges Wednesday after taking Ware County lawmen on a vehicle chase deep into the woods in the Manor-Millwood area, said Ware County Sheriff Randy Royal.
The men bailed out of the truck and ran, hiding in the woods, one of them, Jonathan Chase Finch, 24, of Homerville, evading capture for about five hours. The other man, Charles Douglas, 37, of Church Street Extension, Waycross, was found after a brief search.
The woman, Kara Renee Hyers, 43, of Alapaha, was still in the truck when arrested.
On patrol, Sgt. Michael Ray saw an older model black pickup truck fail to stop for a stop sign at the South Georgia Parkway coming off Forks Street and attempted to make a traffic stop.
Royal said the truck slowed and turned right onto Manor-Millwood Road, then turned right onto Starling Road and increased his speed — and the chase was on.
Ray reported that two men and a woman were in the truck, one of the men appearing to be covered in tattoos, and other law officials were notified of the chase.
Ray saw something being thrown out of the truck, which later was retrieved and turned out to be three bags of methamphetamine and a smoking pipe, Royal said.
The truck continued to flee at speeds of 80 mph and more, he said, turning onto School Street, crossing a railroad track, turning right onto Sawmill Road, then left onto Leland Bennett Road to Wasdin Road and onto O’Berry Road where the truck slammed through a gate and onto hunting club property.
About a mile or so down O’Berry Road, the truck stopped and the men jumped out and ran into a wooded area, leaving the woman in the truck where she was immediately arrested, Royal said.
With heightened awareness in view of recent incidents involving law enforcement, Royal said, it was all hands on deck.
Law enforcement officials responding included a number of DOC officers sent by Ware State Prison Warden Tom Gramiak, Douglas GBI Special Agent Mark Pro and a number of GBI agents, the Georgia State Patrol helicopter which provided aerial support during the search for the men.
Deputy Paul Carter and other responding units established a perimeter around the area where the two men were last seen and Ware State Prison Officer Eric Miles and two K-9 teams were brought in to track the suspects, Royal said.
The dogs began tracking the two and Miles, along with Sgt. Ray and Deputy Carter were able to capture Douglas about three-fourths of a mile into the woods, Royal said. The search for Finch continued for several hours with lawmen breaking off the search at around 9 p.m., Royal said.
At 10:05 p.m., Chief Deputy Carl James got a tip from a driver who reported seeing a man walking along the South Georgia Parkway near the Ware and Atkinson county line. Cpl. Craig Colley responded and made contact with Finch, who had scratches all over his person from the bushes and was wearing soaking wet clothes, said Royal. He was taken into custody with no further incident, Royal said.
“I appreciate the tremendous cooperation among the many agencies that responded and the fine job that was done by all concerned in bringing these three to apprehension with nobody being hurt,” said Royal.
“In wake of recent incidents, law enforcement officials were taking no chances.”
Douglas is charged with possession of methamphetamine, possession of drug related objects, a stop sign violation, speeding, felony fleeting and attempting to elude and obstruction of an officer, Royal said.
He said Hyers is charged with possession of methamphetamine, possession of drug related objects, obstruction and is wanted on a warrant from Brooks County for drug related offenses.
Finch is charged with possession of methamphetamine, possession of drug related objects, obstruction of an officer and a seat belt violation, said Royal.
Assisting in the search and apprehension with Sgt. Ray, Deputy Carter, Cpl. Colley, Officer Miles, and all Ware County deputies were units from the Reidsville State Prison, GSP pilot Sgt. Jeff Rhodes, Trooper Merritt Meeks, Clinch County Sheriff Raymond Peterson, Clinch Investigator Crystal Lloyd, Warden Gramiak and several corrections officers, numerous GBI agents and numerous GSP troopers.
By MYRA THRIFT, Staff Writer