Father who fleeing police left kids in moving car that hit pole gets probation

A drunken father of four who while fleeing police left his children behind as he jumped from a moving car that crashed into a pole pleaded guilty Friday in Muscogee Superior Court.

Reluctantly, Judge Ron Mullins sentenced 33-year-old Dyrell Leshaun Davis to four years’ probation on four counts of reckless conduct and one each of driving under the influence, obstructing police, driving without headlights, striking a fixed object, driving without a license, and misdemeanor possession of marijuana.

“Words fail me in a situation like this, Mr. Davis,” the judge said as he considered whether to accept the prosecution’s sentence recommendation.

Prosecutor Pete Temesgen said his intent was to get the case cleared from the Superior Court docket as federal agents pursue charges against Davis, a convicted felon the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms suspects of dealing marijuana and transporting a firearm.

“This is not it for Mr. Davis by any means,” the assistant district attorney said.

According to a report by Officer Kevin Williford, who with Officer Mark Neal arrested Davis after a brief foot chase about 12:40 a.m. Aug. 10, 2013, this is what happened:

The officers were headed west on Buena Vista Road when they saw Davis’ 1996 Honda Passport going the other way with its headlights off. As they turned back to pull him over, he turned onto Floyd Road.

With police coming up behind him, Davis stopped in Floyd Road’s left lane until Williford pulled up beside him on the right, then asked if he could pull ahead for the traffic stop. Williford agreed.

Davis switched on his right turn signal and going 25 to 30 mph pulled ahead for about 100 feet before turning right onto Sturkie Drive, where he jumped from the moving Honda.

The vehicle traveled another 20 feet before smashing into the utility pole.

Williford chased down Davis, tackling and handcuffing him in the backyard of a nearby residence. Meanwhile Neal rushed to the Honda, in which he found Davis’ four panicked children from 5 to 10 years old, two age 6.

When asked his name, Davis, reeking of alcohol, told Williford it was the F-word. Searching him, Williford found a bag containing 23.5 grams of marijuana in Davis’ left pocket.

Davis refused to blow in a breath analyzer, so officers charged him with DUI less safe.

He was in the back of Williford’s patrol car when he moved with such force that he broke the lap bar strap, a mechanism officers compare to the safety bar on a carnival ride. It secures suspects so they can’t maneuver around to kick out a window or cause other damage.

In court Friday, Mullins ordered Davis to pay the city $82 for damaging the device.

When Mullins asked Davis what he was thinking that Friday night in 2013, Davis admitted he was not thinking clearly. He said he previously had been in so much trouble with the law that when he saw the blue lights, he panicked.

“I just made a stupid decision trying to avoid going to jail,” he told the judge.

Authorities said Davis has an extensive record that includes charges of misdemeanor marijuana possession and a weapons violation in 2001; aggravated assault in 2003; theft by receiving stolen property in 2005; simple battery involving family violence in 2005, 2006 and 2009; and aggravated assault again in 2008.

Columbus police had a similar, unrelated case Feb. 23 when a 29-year-old father fleeing officers left his two children behind as he jumped from a moving car that plunged down a bank and crashed into a tree. Police charged John Robert Cook in that case.