A deputy on patrol in the area of Ridge Avenue noticed a vehicle after the driver, once he passed the patrol car, reportedly accelerated and sped away.
The deputy turned around to stop the driver, who drove through the stop sign at the intersection of Ridge Avenue and Morningside Drive. The deputy followed the driver down Morningside toward Ga. Highway 162 and the driver reportedly continued to accelerate as if attempting to elude the deputy.
The driver, later identified as Jeff Howard Lunsford, refused to stop the vehicle, according to reports, finally making a quick turn into a driveway on Lake Drive. At that point Lunsford allegedly jumped out of his vehicle and began to run. A chase ensued and deputies reportedly followed Lunsford through a yard to the backside of a home.
Lunsford reportedly ran around a camper in the backyard and as he spied one of the deputies he began to reach into his front pocket, according to reports. Both deputies instructed Lunsford to remove his hands from his pocket and threatened to use the Taser on him if he did not comply. Lunsford ignored the deputies and allegedly crawled under the camper with one hand in his pocket.
Concerned for their safety, one deputy deployed his Taser, which made contact with Lunsford’s right leg. Lunsford then reportedly dropped to his stomach and removed his hand from his pocket. Once the Taser fire ceased Lunsford allegedly began crawling farther under the camper and came to a stop next to a large pit bull that was barking and appeared to the deputies to be "vicious."
Lunsford was told by deputies to crawl out from under the camper and he reportedly refused. According to reports he barricaded himself under the camper beside the pit bull, which was barking at deputies and behaving aggressively, not allowing them to get close to Lunsford. Deputies advised him they would use the Taser on him again if he didn’t come out from underneath the camper, but Lunsford reportedly continued to move around, causing the deputies concern since they were unaware if there were weapons within his reach.
The Taser was used once again on Lunsford and he allegedly told deputies he was coming out after the second round. He reportedly crawled out from under the camper and was placed under arrest. While walking to the patrol car, Lunsford allegedly blurted out "Man, they didn’t sell it to me."
Lunsford was searched and deputies reportedly found a metal crack pipe, inside of which was a piece of Brillo pad and suspected cocaine. Lunsford also allegedly had a metal roach clip in the same pocket.
After being read his rights Lunsford reportedly agreed to speak with the deputies. He allegedly told them he had been coming from Ridge Avenue where he was attempting to purchase crack cocaine and marijuana. He told deputies the cocaine was for him and the marijuana was going to be for his cousin, according to reports. He reportedly told the officers "they" wouldn’t sell him the drugs because they noticed the deputy turn down the road and that he ran because he had a crack pipe on him.
Lunsford’s vehicle came back as not having valid insurance and was towed. Lunsford was transported to the Newton County Detention Center where he was charged with fleeing and attempting to elude an officer, no turn signal, two counts of obstruction, possession of cocaine, drug related objects and no insurance.
Drunk in the morning
Officers from the Covington Police Department were called to assist with an accident with injuries late Wednesday morning and ended up arresting a woman for DUI.
The officers were reportedly called to Pineview Drive at 11:55 a.m. and found an overturned vehicle and determined that Tiati Smith had been the driver of the vehicle. When they began speaking with her, the officers could reportedly smell a strong odor of alcohol coming from her breath.
Additionally, she had bloodshot eyes, a very dry mouth and tongue and spoke with slurred speech as well as being unsteady on her feet and kept wandering away from the officers, according to reports. Officers placed her in the back of the patrol car to keep her from wandering away and began to speak with a witness of the accident, who reportedly confirmed Smith had been driving the vehicle.
Officers told Smith she was under arrest and she allegedly refused to do any sobriety tests. She was placed under arrest and on the way to the Newton County Detention Center Smith reportedly told officers she could not be charged with DUI because "she had just gotten up" and "it wasn’t her fault the vehicle had flipped because she had swerved to avoid a dog."
Smith was charged with DUI less safe once she reached the Newton County Sheriff’s Office.