By Ed Brock
Clayton County police say a man led them on a chase into Henry County, ramming at least two police cars during the chase and almost running over one officer.
Joshua Mazzilli, 21, was charged with theft by taking a motor vehicle, fleeing and attempting to elude and interference with government property, according to a police report by Clayton County Police Officer Matthew Whitton.
Around 10:15 p.m. Friday Whitton was called to Hunter's Creek subdivision near Hampton about a stolen car. The owner of the stolen car told Whitton that he had seen a man with a pierced lip take his 2002 White Ford Expedition while the victim was eating at a fast food restaurant on Hastings Bridge Road.
The victim and some friends had followed the stolen car into the subdivision and then notified an off duty police captain who had his patrol car parked in his driveway. The off duty police captain notified police and had blocked the only entrance into the subdivision when Whitton arrived.
As Whitton was taking down information he saw the stolen car approach and activated his blue lights. The driver of the stolen car turned onto a dead-end road and drove to the end with Whitton behind him.
Whitton got out of his car, drew his weapon and ordered the driver of the car to get out. Instead, according to Whitton, the driver continued to smoke his cigarette, looked in the rearview mirror, put the Expedition in reverse and rammed Whitton's patrol car.
The driver then began driving at Whitton, chasing him around his patrol car and driving through yards before driving away. Whitton got back in his car and started looking for the Expedition. When he saw that the off duty captain was following the Expedition Whitton joined the chase.
The officers and the stolen vehicle left the subdivision and entered Henry County on Jonesboro Road with the Expedition being driven erratically, swerving and almost hitting another vehicle as it passed through an intersection.
As the chase came near the city of McDonough several Henry County and McDonough police officers laid out spike strips on the road. The Expedition hit the strips and all four tires were flattened.
The officers managed to force the Expedition to stop, but only after the driver had rammed a McDonough patrol car and a citizen in a large truck had helped hem in the vehicle.
The officers then had to break the window of the Expedition to extract Mazilli who they say continued to try to drive away.