By Patrick Yost
An early morning attempt at a traffic stop on an allegedly impaired driver ended with a short but violent car chase and a truck pinned against a tree in a field across from the Morgan County Public Safety Center on Monticello Highway.
According to Chief Deputy Keith Howard, Morgan County Sheriff’s Office, the high speed chase began at 4:26 a.m. on Monday, Feb. 3 at the intersection of Eatonton Road and the Madison by-pass. Morgan County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Travis Goss observed a truck sitting at the intersection. As the light changed and Goss drove away, he noticed the truck did not move. Goss returned, pulled behind the truck, activated his emergency lights and contacted Madison Police Department officers Crop. Stacey Eaton and Emily Fitchjarrell for backup.
When Goss walked up to the Ford F-150, the driver, Rickey Bennett, 33, Lithonia, appeared to be asleep in the vehicle. When Goss knocked on the glass, Howard said, and identified himself, Goss fled towards Monticello Highway.
Howard said all units engaged in the chase and at the intersection of Lions Club Road and Monticello Highway the F 150 did not stop at the intersection and crashed through a wood fence.
“The suspect was basically then in a field, riding in circles,” Howard said.
The officers also entered the field and efforts to coerce Bennett to stop failed. “They became concerned about him getting back on the highway,” Howard said.
Deputy Chris Lash requested and received permission to disable the truck, Howard said, and pinned the vehicle between his patrol vehicle and a tree. After the collision, “there was a delay in responding but eventually the driver rolled down the window.”
Bennett was removed from the vehicle and now faces charges of DUI, aggravated assault, fleeing and attempting to elude, failure to stop at a stop sign and reckless driving.
Howard said Bennett told deputies he had been at a Super Bowl party at his Lithonia residence and “had no recall, recollection or memory of how he got to Madison.”