An undercover drug bust nearly turned into a demolition derby Tuesday night after an Ellenwood man drove backwards across the Burlington Coat Factory parking lot and then crashed into two patrol cars.
Around 7:30 p.m., undercover investigators with the Rockdale County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics and Vice Unit set up a meeting with Darrick Jovan Lawrence to buy marijuana.
Lawrence, 33, and another passenger in the car met the officers at the far end of the parking lot off of Ga. Highway 138, closer to the Krystals.
According to RCSO Investigator Michael Camp, the undercover agents allegedly purchased about a half pound, or a gallon Ziploc bag full, of marijuana from Lawrence.
Unknown to the suspect, a “takedown team” with RCSO deputies and Conyers police were waiting around the corner.
“As the takedown team comes to arrest the suspect, he puts the car in reverse and drives backwards at a high rate of speed,” said Camp.
Luckily, most of the customers’ parked cars were at the other end of the parking lot.
Lawrence’s flight was temporarily halted when he crashed into a low, 3-foot yellow metal pole sticking up from the parking lot. But that didn’t stop the would-be fugitive.
He then put the damaged car into drive. At this point, two RCSO patrol cars were now directly in front of him.
“He decided to ram both deputies’ patrol cars,” said Camp.
One patrol car sustained major damage on the driver’s side and the other had some damage to the passenger side.
The car Lawerence was driving was heavily damaged.
“Other officers and deputies got the suspect out of the vehicle and got him detained,” said Camp.
Luckily, no one was seriously injured. The K9 in one of the patrol cars was also not seriously injured.
The deputies, suspect and the male passenger in the suspect’s car were all medically treated for minor bumps and bruises at the scene by emergency medical personnel and released.
The deputy with the damage to the driver’s side of the patrol car was taken to the hospital by another deputy for treatment of minor injuries, such as bumps and bruises, and released as well.
Lawrence was booked into the Rockdale County jail and charged with the sale of marijuana, two counts of aggravated assault on a police officer, one count of fleeing/attempting to elude, and one count of kidnapping.
The kidnapping charge was brought because the passenger reportedly attempted to escape Lawrence’s moving car but was unable to, said Camp.