Usually when a vehicle has been stolen, it is another law enforcement agency that finds the vehicle in their jurisdiction. But in the case of a pickup truck stolen in Atlanta from a Yatesville man, it was an observant person at an Atlanta motel who found the truck.
According to an incident report by Upson County Sheriff’s Sergeant Rodney Ozley, he was contacted on August 19 by a man named Jason Radcliff, who said he lives at the Motel 6 on Courtland Street in Atlanta. Radcliff said about a week ago, a large blue 2012 F250 pickup truck pulled into the parking lot of the motel and backed into a parking space. He saw four men get out of the truck and run away. Radcliff said the truck sat there for several days before he finally went out to check on it and found that the driver’s side window had been busted out.
Radcliff said he called 9-1-1 in Atlanta to advise them of the truck, but that no one from the Atlanta Police Department ever came out. After a couple of more days, Radcliff went back out to the truck and saw that the tag was registered in Upson County, so he decided to call the Upson County Sheriff’s Office to see if they could help with the vehicle.
Sgt. Ozley took the information and ran it through the Georgia Crime Information Center (GCIC) and found it belonged to Shawn Thompson in Yatesville. He contacted Thompson, who said his truck was stolen when he was in Atlanta on August 24. Thompson said he reported it stolen to the Atlanta Police Department.
Sgt. Ozley went back to the GCIC just as a hit report came in on the truck being stolen. He called the Atlanta Police Department and advised them of the situation. He was contacted later by the APD and told that the vehicle had been recovered. He advised Thompson and told him to contact the APD.
A Thomaston man and a juvenile are facing charges of racing and laying drags after they were witnessed by a deputy racing up North Center Street.
According to an incident report by Upson County Sheriff’s Sergeant Neill Sanders, he was in uniform and in a marked patrol car when he was working for the Thomaston Housing Authority on August 28. At about 11:45 p.m., he was parked in front of the Housing Authority office on Triune Avenue when he heard a nearby vehicle spinning tires and accelerating quickly. The vehicle went west on Triune Mill Road.
Sanders drove to the intersection of Triune Avenue and Triune Mill Road and saw the taillights of two cars heading west at a high rate of speed on Triune Mill Road. He attempted to catch up to the vehicles and saw one turn on East Lee Street. He turned after it and caught up to it as it approached the traffic light at the intersection of East Lee Street and South Center Street.
The vehicle, a gray 2011 Nissan Altima, turned right onto South Center Street, and the officer turned right behind him. The Altima pulled alongside a blue 1993 Buick Park Avenue stopped at the traffic light. The Altima had two black males in it and the Buick had one black male. Sanders said they were talking to each other, but he could not tell what they were saying.
Sgt. Sanders said both vehicles began revving their engines and “staging” their cars, holding the brake pedals while giving the cars gas, causing them to lurch forward. When the light turned green, both cars accelerated rapidly, spinning their tires. Sanders activated his blue lights, signaling for the drivers to stop. The Altima continued north for a block, then the driver pulled to the left and stopped in the parking lane in the middle of the block. The Buick continued traveling north.
Sanders told the driver of the Altima to stay there, then pursued the Buick. The Buick pulled into a parking lot near East Walker Street and stopped. Sanders identified the driver as Elden Hammond, and advised him to stay there while Sanders went back to get the other car. Thomaston Police Officer Matthew Allen arrived and stayed with the driver.
Sanders went back to the Altima and identified the driver as a 16-year-old juvenile. He had the driver drive the Altima down to the parking lot where the Buick was. Both drivers denied they were racing. The 16-year-old said he had just picked up his passenger, a 15-year-old juvenile, on Triune Mill Road and was headed to McDonalds. Hammond said he was headed home.
Sanders called for wreckers to tow the two vehicles. The juvenile called his mother, who came to the scene. Sanders issued citations for Racing and Laying Drags to the juvenile and released him to the custody of his mother. Hammond was transported to the Upson County Jail, where he was booked on charged of Racing and Laying Drags.
Larry Stanford may be reached at 706-647-5414 or on Twitter @LarryStanford7.