By Daniel Silliman
He blamed it on the marijuana.
After James Gregory Owens allegedly led police on an 18-mile car chase, officers found marijuana in his car and, according to the police report, he said: "I was smoking that [expletive] and acting crazy."
Owens, a 27-year-old from Jonesboro, was stopped by a Clayton County Police officer outside Riverdale at about 12:15 p.m., Saturday, because his brake light wasn't working properly. According to Officer T. Garret's police report, only one of the two bulbs on Owens' 1991 Chevy Caprice's right rear, brake light was lit, when the car stopped at a stop sign in front of the officer.
Garrett turned on his lights and stopped the Maroon-colored car. Owens reportedly told the officer he knew about the brake light and was dealing with it, but balked when asked for his driver's license.
"The driver looked at me and stated, 'I don't have a license.'" Garrett wrote. "The driver then stated, 'I'm not going to jail,' slammed his door and squealed the tires as [he] sped away."
The police chased Owens from Walker Road, where he was stopped, to King Road, where he allegedly "accelerated to reckless speeds," onto Ga. Highway 314, onto Old National Highway and eventually onto Interstate 285, heading east. According to Garrett, Owens crossed double yellow lines, ran red lights and stop signs, drove against oncoming traffic and made sudden U-turns, but was eventually caught on I-285 when police boxed him in with their cruisers.
With one officer pointing a pistol at Owens, another reportedly threw him to the ground and handcuffed him.
In a little more than 15 minutes, Owens traveled about 18 miles and sometimes reached speeds of 90 miles per hour, police alleged.
Officers reported they found marijuana in the car, a counterfeit $20 bill, $509 in cash -- and a 9 mm pistol was allegedly thrown from the vehicle. According to Garrett, there were outstanding warrants for Owens' arrest.
He was arrested and charged with: No brake lights, obstruction, fleeing and attempting to elude police, reckless driving, speeding, possession of less than an ounce of marijuana, failure to maintain a lane, passing in a no-passing zone, possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime, tampering with evidence, littering, driving while unlicensed, a red-light violation and forgery.
Shooting at car wash
A College Park student was shot in the stomach on Riverdale Road on Saturday night.
The student, whose name has not been released by Clayton County Police, was transported to Grady Memorial Hospital, and listed in stable, but critical condition.
Officer L. Watson reported that the victim was found lying on the ground in the parking lot of Hand Car Wash, 5416 Riverdale Road, in College Park. The victim and witnesses said he had been in an argument with a group of men in the parking lot of J.J. Fish and Chicken.
During the "verbal altercation," police believe, one man pulled a gun, a black .38-caliber handgun, and told the student and his friend, "You have five minutes to clear the block."
As the two groups split up, the student and his friend heading toward the Cherry Hill subdivision and the others toward the Quick Trip, a number of shots were fired and the student was hit in the stomach. Witnesses gave police the names and addresses of two suspects. The investigation is ongoing.
Shooting still a mystery
Clayton County Police Department detectives are still looking for leads in the investigation of a Friday morning shooting.
Franco Munoz, 27, was shot on the left side of his chest at his home on Mallard Drive, outside Jonesboro. He was flown to Atlanta Medical Center and was listed in critical, but stable condition, according to police.
The circumstances surround the shooting remained unclear, but detectives believe they are looking for three black males, who left in a "box-styled" Toyota, perhaps a Camry.
Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call Detective Thomas Martin at (770) 477-3635.