Holiday Crime Recap: DUI bonanzas, car chases and non-celebratory gunfire
It doesn't take a Harvard criminologist to realize that crime generally increases around the holiday season, and this year was no exception.
A local man was arrested on a myriad of charges after celebrating New Year's Eve way too hard around downtown Milledgeville. Justin Mikel Foster, 29, was tackled to the ground after reportedly firing off two gunshots in the Century Bank parking lot. The incident occurred around 8:30 p.m., when most people around downtown were still eating dinner. Prior to being apprehended, Foster reportedly caused a scene at Amici before moving on to Buffingtons and then Greene Street Pool Tavern. A 911 call came in from the poolhall after Foster reportedly made unwanted physical contact with a customer, and the Milledgeville Police Department responded.
While in the area looking for Foster, two gunshots were heard nearby. Maj. Linc Boyer "then located the subject behind Buffington's and was able to get the gun away from him and get him on the ground," according to the incident report. Foster "continued to try and get up, so he was secured in leg irons to further prevent him from escaping." An officer then made contact with a man who stated he observed someone matching Foster's description "holding a pistol low down at his side and angled upwards" before "firing two shots upwards in the air." The witness added that he "never saw the pistol pointed at anyone and that that angle of the shot would have sent the rounds over the buildings." A pair of 9 milimeter shell casings ultimately were recovered. Foster was charged with reckless conduct, misdemeanor sexual battery, discharing a firearm while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, public drunkenness, unauthorized dishcare of firearms within 50 yards of public highway and misdemeanor obstruction of an officer.
Meanwhile, one of Milledgeville's most reliable holiday traditions, right up there with The Nutcracker and the downtown Christmas parade, is the New Year's roadblock at the North Columbia/Meriwether intersection. As always, this year's presentation was a hit, resulting in a half-dozen DUI arrests, which was one more than last year's presentation.
Also, an elderly woman's pickup truck was stolen on Christmas Eve and wrecked on North Jefferson Street following a brief chase. The silver Honda Ridgeline sustained substantial front-end damage after barging into the guard rail above the creek near North Jefferson's intersection with Ivey Weaver Road. A wheelchair hitched to the back of the pickup truck also was knocked loose and careened down the road.
A 911 call initially came in around 1 p.m. The victim's husband said that he looked outside and noticed that the truck was missing from the front yard of their Merry Court home. Law enforcement singled in on the Ivey Weaver Road/Barrows Ferry Road area, where Jackson is known to frequent. Dispatch then relayed to deputies that someone called 911 and reported that a white pickup truck was driving erratically on Ivey Weaver. A Milledgeville Police Department officer then spotted the truck and activated his blue lights. That's when Jackson sped up, made a quick turn and ran into the guard rail.
Two juvenile passengers initially were detained, while the driver took off on foot towards the Jet store. The driver – Jamel Sherrod Jackson, 34 – subsequently was located on Mamie Harris Road and handcuffed. The two juveniles relayed to deputies that Jackson previously picked them up from The Milledgeville Manor because they needed to go to the store, but Jackson "wouldn't take them home when they asked."
Jackson wasn't ready to spend Christmas in the county jail, apparently, and "became irate and kicking the rear seat left side passenger window" of the patrol car. Jackson ultimately was booked and charged with felony theft by taking, reckless driving, hit and run, felony interference with government property, as well as several traffic violations.