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Covington officer feared injured in rescue attempt back at work
Covington police

COVINGTON, Ga. — A Covington Police officer believed injured while working to free an accused vehicle thief from a fiery wreck was to be back on the job four days later.

The officer, who was not named, was to return to work Friday after the Monday afternoon incident on the side of Turner Lake Road near Clark Street Monday, June 28, said spokesman Capt. Ken Malcom.

The incident began when a Georgia State Patrol trooper determined a Ford Explorer had been stolen from an Atlanta business and ordered its driver to pull to the side of Crowell Road in Porterdale, a GSP spokesman said.  

At that point, the vehicle began to flee and traveled north on Crowell Road. The trooper reportedly attempted a PIT (pursuit intervention technique) maneuver that was unsuccessful. 

The driver, identified as Billy Glendell Campbell Jr., 51, of Fayetteville, North Carolina, then fled north on Crowell. The vehicle turned right on Brown Bridge Road and then left on Turner Lake Road, the spokesman said.

“A second PIT maneuver was attempted near Clark (Street). That PIT was also unsuccessful, and the vehicle began traveling south on Turner Lake Road in the northbound lane,” she said.

A Newton County Sheriff’s Office vehicle that was involved in the pursuit then was struck by the Ford Explorer — whose driver lost control of the vehicle and it went over the west shoulder of Turner Lake Road and struck a tree, the spokesman said. 

The driver was trapped inside the vehicle. As the trooper, Newton County deputies and Covington officers worked to free the driver the vehicle caught fire, the GSP spokesman said.

Officers continued to use fire extinguishers to fight the blaze before firefighters arrived and the driver was extricated, the spokesman said.

Emergency personnel transported Campbell by LifeFlight helicopter to Atlanta Medical Center with serious injuries, the spokesman said.

The Covington officer was transported by helicopter to Grady Memorial Hospital with suspected burns and other undisclosed injuries.

The deputy whose vehicle was struck was injured but not transported, the spokesman said

Campbell will face charges including Fleeing, Obstruction of an Officer, and Aggravated Assault on a Law Enforcement Officer.