Police: Spencer High student dragged man under van more than a mile

tstevens@ledger-enquirer.comJanuary 15, 2014 

Cleveland Farley

Accident investigators say 18-year-old Spencer High School student Cleveland Farley had to know the scooter driver he hit Monday night was trapped under his Pontiac van as he kept driving for 1.2 miles.

As a result of this ordeal, the 32-year-old victim lost an arm, skin and tissue, and was left with multiple fractures and a punctured lung, officers said. He was dragged not only over pavement but across speed bumps as his body remained snagged beneath the 2004 Pontiac Montana van, they said.

The body did not come loose until Farley got to the 527 Farr Road trailer park where he lives, more than a mile from the accident scene at the intersection of Cusseta Road and Old Cusseta Road.

During a Wednesday hearing in Columbus Recorder's Court, Farley faced a felony charge of serious injury by vehicle, as well as violations for no state license, reckless driving, no proof of insurance, failure to report an accident, no state tag, improper left turn, unsafe tires and switching tags.

Investigators said Farley was on Cusseta Road driving home from wrestling practice at Spencer when he hit the scooter nearly head-on while turning left onto Old Cusseta Road. The impact smashed the scooter aside, but its driver became trapped.

Investigators said Farley, who had no license or insurance, and whose van tag was registered to the owner of a Ford Windstar in Cusseta, Ga., apparently panicked and headed straight for home, dragging the 32-year-old along. Officers retracing the route found pieces of skin and tissue, and located the victim's helmet and wallet near a railroad crossing on Old Cusseta Road, they said.

When they found the injured man, he was still conscious and able to tell police what happened, investigators said.

After Farley told his mother what happened, she helped him switch the tags on the Pontiac and park it to hide damage from the collision, police said, but officers aided by witnesses' tips tracked down the van, arresting Farley on Tuesday.

Rushed to the Midtown Medical Center where his arm had to be amputated, the scooter driver was listed Wednesday in unsatisfactory condition in intensive care, a hospital representative said.

Police determined the tag the Farleys switched onto the Pontiac belonged on a 1996 Buick Century, they said. The mother admitted switching the tag, an officer testified Wednesday in Recorder's Court.

Farley's attorney, Stacey Jackson, sought lower bonds based on his client's student status. Judge Michael Cielinski denied the request and set Farley's total bonds at $53,800.

Tim Chitwood contributed to this story.

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