0

Paige waives hearing in alleged hit-and-run

Friend arrested on drug charges

Photo by Elaine Rackley
Thomas Paige was in handcuffs as he was taken inside the Clayton County Police Department by deputies Dec. 19. Police said Nathan Adams was arrested at a Duluth apartment complex for helping Paige to hide from the authorities.

Photo by Elaine Rackley Thomas Paige was in handcuffs as he was taken inside the Clayton County Police Department by deputies Dec. 19. Police said Nathan Adams was arrested at a Duluth apartment complex for helping Paige to hide from the authorities.

JONESBORO — A man charged with running over a police officer was in Clayton County Magistrate Court Thursday.

Thomas Areeco Paige appeared before Judge Richard C. Brown to answer charges of aggravated assault, aggravated battery, obstruction of an officer, leaving the scene of an accident, reckless driving and loitering or prowling.

Paige, 36, waived his right to a preliminary hearing.

He is accused of hitting Clayton County Police Officer Michael Hooks with his pickup truck Dec. 12. Hooks was injured when he, along with several other Strategic Methods Against Street Harms (SMASH) officers, responded to a burglary in progress. The SMASH unit arrived at the old Kmart store parking lot, located at 5250 Frontage Road in Forest Park. Police said Paige and his passenger, Jabari Akil Jackson, were suspected of stealing metal from behind the Kmart building. Jackson was apprehended at the scene the same day.

Police said Paige fled on foot when he wrecked his truck at the scene.

The Hampton man led authorities on a week-long manhunt. He was apprehended Dec. 19 by the Metro Atlanta Fugitive Squad in Gwinnett County.

Clayton County Police Sgt. K.T. Hughes said the task force found Paige at a friend’s house in a Duluth apartment complex.

“[Paige] was hiding out with someone who was believed to be helping him avoid capture,” Hughes said. “He was located in the apartment complex with another male, who was arrested for playing a part in hiding Paige.”

Gwinnett Police Cpl. Jake Smith said the apartment complex address where Paige was found is 1060 Court Drive, in Duluth.

Authorities arrested Nathan Adams at the Duluth apartment where the task force located Paige. Adams is charged with possession with the attempt to distribute marijuana, according to U.S. Marshals spokesperson Gavin Duffy.

When asked was Adams charged with aiding and abetting a fugitive, Duffy said, “He was interviewed for that, but we work the investigative and prosecutorial portion of the case.”

Paige appeared before Clayton County Magistrate Court Judge Daphne M. Walker on Dec. 20, when he was denied bond. Paige remains in the Clayton County Jail.

Paige proclaimed his innocence while in handcuffs as he was being escorted into the police department by Clayton County Sheriff’s deputies.

According to the arrest warrant, police said Paige intentionally ran over Hooks, causing serious bodily injury.

“[Hooks] had two broken ribs, causing them to be useless, as well as internal injuries,” said Clayton County Police Detective M. Ashley.

“[Paige] refused to obey Hooks’ commands to stop his vehicle.”

As he was being carried into police headquarters, Paige said, “I didn’t do it.”

When asked about Hooks, Paige responded, “I hope the officer gets better.”

He said police “stomped my face,” causing it to bruise with a visible red patch beneath his left eye.

“At this time, it is believed that he was the driver,” said Hughes in a press conference held at police headquarters last week.

Hooks was released from the hospital Dec. 18 and is recovering at his home, Hughes said.

At the time of the incident, Hooks and his SMASH team were conducting “Operation Safe Holiday.”

Hughes said there was an “extensive” search for Paige.

“The squad has been working diligently to apprehend Paige and put in some long hours searching Clayton County and surrounding areas,” Hughes said. “I am sure the SMASH team is relieved, as in any incident like this we all suffer.”

Paige has a lengthy criminal history dating to 1998, including entering auto and theft by taking charges. In 1999 and in 2011, he was charged with obstruction of an officer.