A man has been charged with aggravated assault on a Columbus police officer after nearly running over the officer during a high-speed chase in Columbus.
Artavious Lentrell White, 23, pleaded not guilty Monday to aggravated assault on a police officer, reckless driving, fleeing and eluding, obstruction, two counts of striking a fixed object, giving false information, driving with a suspended license, failure to exhibit driver’s license, broken tag light and no insurance.
Columbus Police Officer Misty Boyette requested that the failure to exhibit driver’s license charge be dismissed, because she later learned that his license was suspended. Columbus Recorder’s Court Judge Michael Cielinski dropped the charge.
White was placed in the Muscogee County Jail under bonds totaling $24,250, and the case was bound over to Superior Court.
Around 2:30 a.m. Saturday, Boyette and Columbus Officer Christian Gibney initiated a traffic stop near the intersection of Buena Vista Drive and Interstate 85 on a 2001 Ford Crown Victoria that didn’t have a working headlight or tag light, according to Boyette’s testimony.
They spoke with White, who was the driver. He allegedly gave police the improper spelling of his first name and an incorrect Social Security number. They also discovered that his driver’s license was suspended, Boyette told the court.
When officers attempted to take the man into custody, he allegedly resisted arrest in an aggressive manner and refused to step out of his vehicle as police ordered.
That’s when Gibney grabbed White’s left arm and tried to unlock the driver’s door of the Crown Victoria to get White out of the vehicle, the officers said.
“While Officer Gibney was attempting to unlock the door, Mr. White stated, ‘I’m not going to jail,’ and placed the vehicle into drive,” Boyette said. “Mr. White then fled the scene while Officer Gibney was still grabbing Mr. White’s left arm.”
There was no mention of injuries, but Gibney said the man nearly ran him over.
“As I noticed him pulling forward, I had to push off of the vehicle to avoid getting run over by the vehicle,” Gibney said.
During the chase, White reportedly exceeded the speed limit on Steam Mill Road, traveling 85 mph in a 35 mph zone.
White crashed the Ford Crown Victoria into a mailbox and fence before bringing his vehicle to a stop. Then the suspect ran on foot for more than one block before collapsing from exhaustion in the woods off of Goodson Road, according to police.
He was arrested in the area around 2:45 a.m., police said.
According to a report, White allegedly caused $400 worth of damage during the incident.