“NO SUCH THING as ‘a routine traffic stop!’”
That’s what Marietta, Ga., police said after one of their officers tried to do just that Thursday morning — and wound up being dragged down the road for more than a mile at high speeds.
It started at around 7:30 a.m., when Officer Brian Wallace pulled over a white Ford Fusion for a moving violation.
Initially, the driver and passengers were cooperative, police said — but Wallace noticed that the driver’s body language seemed “odd,” and also smelled marijuana in the car, so he asked the driver to get out. Wallace called for Sgt. Brian Honea to help search the vehicle.
But when that backup officer started walking toward the car, police say, the driver tried to get back in the vehicle, and both officers lunged forward and grabbed him to try to pull him back out.
As the struggle began, a passenger put the car in drive and hit the gas, shooting the car forward while the driver and the officer hung out of the door and wrestled in the driver’s seat, police say. Honea was flung to the ground and could only watch as the car sped off into traffic with Wallace pinned in the door.
At speeds as high as 71 mph, Wallace stayed trapped between the door and the seat while the car swerved through heavy traffic and rough, muddy roads, police say.
After a half mile, Wallace closed the door to keep from being thrown out into the road, and the car came to a stop after another half-mile.
One suspect jumped out of the moving vehicle and fled (he was later found and arrested), and two handguns that had been tossed out of the car were found later by a police dog.
Police say all three suspects, Cory Moody, Eyzaiya Moody and Walter Gadson Jr., are gang members from Massachusetts. They now face charges including kidnapping, fleeing and eluding, assault and obstruction, as well as firearms charges.
“I could not be prouder of the group of Marietta Police Officers who were engaged in this situation. Because they are so highly trained, self-disciplined and well-coordinated they were able to end this extremely dangerous situation without anyone being injured or killed; officer or suspects,” Marietta Police Chief Dan Flynn said in a news release.
“Certainly, it was a chaotic scene,” Marietta Police Officer Chuck McPhilamy told WSB-TV. “We’re incredibly happy and fortunate that the officer pushed back into traffic wasn’t run over or hurt, even happier the officer that became trapped partially into the vehicle was able to stay just out of harm’s way enough that he wasn’t pushed out of the vehicle or pulled in any further or hurt. Now that we know there were handguns involved, certainly there could’ve been a gunfight inside the car.”