Two deputies conducting a search for a suicidal man were nearly run over by a speeding man, who had reportedly stolen a vehicle from the Newton County Board of Education Transportation facility early Nov. 21.
Deputies were in their vehicles conducting a slow patrol of the area of Ga. Highway 36 near Willow Springs Drive in an attempt to locate a man who had allegedly threatened to kill himself. The two deputies were discussing possible locations where the suicidal man may have gone when they noticed headlights coming toward them from the south. One deputy pulled his vehicle all the way to the edge of the roadway and the oncoming driver allegedly kept coming, straight for the patrol car, swerving around at the last second, narrowly avoiding an accident.
The deputies went after the driver in an attempt to stop him and were notified by yet another deputy that he was also attempting a stop on a vehicle matching that description. As the law enforcement officers continued to follow, the driver later identified as 18-year-old Frankie Shawn Meeks Jr., reportedly accelerated and at one point even turned the vehicle headlights off.
The vehicle reportedly continued south on Ga. Highway 36 and turned left onto Ga. Highway 212, heading toward Jasper County. On occasion Meeks would allegedly accelerate to speeds up to 90 mph. Meeks continued into Jasper County, according to reports, and Jasper County authorizes as well as Georgia State Patrol troopers reportedly became involved in the chase.
Eventually Meeks lost control of the vehicle, according to reports, and collided head-on with a tree in the driveway of a home on Jasper Street. Meeks reportedly used his fists to shatter the passenger side window, flung himself out the broken window and ran into the woods.
Deputies pursued Meeks as he allegedly ran through some briars, Eventually, Meeks reportedly tripped over a tree stump and fell. He still refused to show the deputies his hands or to cooperate with them and they were forced to drive-stun him with the Taser.
Jasper County EMS had to respond to the scene due to his behavior. At the time he did not have identification on him, according to reports, but he allegedly volunteered that he had taken methamphetamines earlier in the day and deputies could reportedly smell an odor of alcohol on him.
Due to his condition the EMS workers advised he be air-lifted to Atlanta Medical Center for treatment. A deputy followed Meeks to Atlanta. He was charged with driving without a license, failure to maintain lane and driving under the influence by the GSP trooper who assisted in working the incident.
The vehicle was confirmed stolen from the Newton County Board of Education Transportation facility on Bypass Road, and the gate to the facility was found forced open, according to reports.
NCSO charged Meeks with theft by receiving, theft by taking, reckless driving, criminal trespass, fleeing and eluding and two counts of obstructing law enforcement.