By Ed Brock
A Riverdale police officer on Thursday rescued two men from an oncoming train who police say earlier in the day tried to run down another Riverdale officer.
Just before 5 a.m. on Thursday Clayton County police responded to a call from Advantages Apartments on Gardenwalk Boulevard regarding two men in a pickup truck trying to steal a motorcycle by putting it on a trailer that was hitched to the truck, Clayton County Assistant Police Chief Jeff Turner said.
County officers arrived but found no suspects at the scene, so they issued a lookout. A short time later, Riverdale police officers sighted a pickup driven by 28-year-old Everett Stinchcomb with 31-year-old Juddson Jones as a passenger. The officers attempted to stop the truck and when it didn't stop a chase began that involved both city and county agencies, Turner said.
At one point the chase re-entered Riverdale and officers there tried to use "stop sticks" placed in front of the truck to flatten the tires, according to Riverdale police.
"When they came through the driver veered his vehicle off the roadway toward one of our officers on foot," said Riverdale Assistant Police Chief Samuel Patterson. "So we're charging him with aggravated assault by vehicle."
The officer on foot was not injured.
The Riverdale and Clayton County officers called off the pursuit to ensure public safety. But after that decision, Riverdale Police Officer Charles Catley decided to begin heading to his home in Atlanta, Patterson said. He then saw the vehicle had crashed onto some railroad tracks at Rock Hill Road and West Point Road.
Stinchcomb was trapped in the vehicle and Jones was lying on the tracks while a train was approaching. Catley pulled both men to safety moments before the train hit the pickup.
Stinchcomb was taken to Grady Memorial Hospital for treatment while Jones was taken to Clayton County Jail. Jones was wanted out of DeKalb County on several charges including escape.
"They're both well known (by law enforcement) in the metro area, especially the south metro area," Patterson said.
Stinchcomb has also been charged with theft by receiving (Turner said the pickup truck was stolen) and both men face several traffic charges.