A routine traffic stop went awry when a driver was asked to exit his vehicle and instead sped off, to the danger of motorists and pedestrians in his path.
Warren Murphy, 37, was arrested Aug. 3 and charged with driving too fast for conditions, fleeing or attempting to elude police officer, obstruction or hindering law enforcement officers and reckless driving.
A report of Murphy’s arrest by Gray Police Officer Thomas Watkins stated he was on stationary patrol at about 7:30 p.m. Aug. 3 when he saw a white Ford Explorer.
The officer said he entered the tag number on his computer, and it showed the registered owner of the vehicle had an active warrant out of Milledgeville. Watkins said he initiated a traffic stop, and the Explorer pulled into the parking lot of an auto parts store.
He said he made contact with the driver, who was identified as Murphy, the registered owner of the vehicle. The officer noted that a female was in the passenger’s seat, and several juveniles were in the back seat.
Watkins said he asked Murphy to put the Explorer in park and step out of the car. At that time, the driver took off at a high rate of speed toward a restaurant parking lot. The officer said Lt. Jacob Hunnicut followed the Explorer while he was getting back into his car.
Watkins said Murphy entered the shopping center parking lot, still driving at a high rate of speed, swerving through parking lanes and around parked vehicles. He said at that time numerous pedestrians were in the parking lot walking from their vehicles to the businesses.
The officer said the driver reached an adjacent parking lot, got out of the Explorer and fled on foot. Watkins said he got out of his car and pursued the suspect through a drug store and apprehended him in the back of the store.
Murphy was taken into custody and transported to the Jones County Law Enforcement Center. Watkins said warrants were subsequently issued for his arrest on multiple charges.