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Man dies while trying to escape police

By Jason A. Smith

jsmith@henryherald.com

Authorities are looking into the death of a man in Henry County, a death that reportedly took place Tuesday during a traffic stop.

Henry County Police said the victim was run over by a vehicle as he tried to escape from an officer.

The incident occurred at approximately 10:30 a.m., on Interstate 75, southbound in Locust Grove.

According to Henry County Police Capt. Jason Bolton, the officer at the scene stopped the man for a traffic offense, which quickly turned into something more serious.

"The officer received information that the individual was wanted, and the subject ran from the officer across the interstate," said Bolton. "The subject was struck by a vehicle and killed."

The southbound lanes of the interstate were closed temporarily, to allow police to begin an investigation.

Ricky Abel, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., said he was driving northbound on the interstate shortly after the incident occurred. Abel said, although he did not see the victim get hit by the vehicle, he was startled by the accident's aftermath.

"I saw a [man] lying in the middle of the road," said Abel. "I knew he wasn't OK ... and he wasn't moving."

Abel said his fears were confirmed when he saw police on the scene, not taking measures to revive the victim.

"Nobody was helping him," said Abel. "I knew he was dead."

Capt. Bolton said the victim, at the time of the incident, had warrants out for his arrest from Dougherty County for possession of stolen property, theft, criminal trespassing, escape, and obstruction of an officer. The City of Albany had issued an additional warrant for the man, for criminal damage to property.

Police have not released the name of the individual, as they are attempting to locate his next of kin before doing so.

Two agents from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) were reportedly at the scene of the incident Tuesday afternoon, to begin their examination of the evidence. GBI Spokesman John Bankhead said such measures are commonplace in cases involving a member of law enforcement.

"Typically, anytime there is a death as a result of a police action, whether directly or indirectly, local [police departments] call the GBI in as an independent agency," he said. "We will conduct an investigation, and turn the case over to the Henry County District Attorney's Office to review."

Bolton said the officer involved in the incident will not be placed on administrative leave, and will be able to continue his duties while the GBI conducts its investigation.