MARIETTA, Ga. - Three people are in custody after a Thursday morning traffic stop turned violent when one police officer was pushed out into oncoming traffic and another was pinned to a suspect's vehicle while it sped away.
The traffic stop took place at Delk Road near Franklin Gateway, when Off. Brian Franklin pulled over a white Ford Fusion with three occupants.
"It's a common occurrence for people to block that intersection when they try and squeeze through during traffic signal changes, and we'd received complaints," said Officer Charles McPhilamy, Marietta police spokesman.
"When the car was pulled over, the driver was cooperative at first," McPhilamy said. "But you get a sixth sense as an officer when something feels wrong, and this officer felt that way right from the start. He asked the driver to step out and patted him down. He found no weapons, and the driver was cooperative."
McPhilamy said the officer then noticed the smell of marijuana, and called for backup.
"Sgt. Brian Honea arrived as backup and as he approached Officer Wallace and the suspect, the suspect attempted to reenter his vehicle," said McPhilamy. "They both attempted to remove the suspect from his vehicle. At one point the suspect was almost pulled completely back out of the vehicle, but the passenger placed the car in drive and launched the suspect vehicle forward knocking Honea to the ground while Wallace was pinned against the driver seat."
Wallace and the suspects wrestled with each other inside the vehicle at speeds up to 71 mph.
About halfway into what would become a more than one-mile chase, Wallace said he decided to pull the driver door closed to prevent being thrown out onto the roadway in traffic.
Watch dashcam video from the chase below:
Other officers, including the Georgia State Patrol, joined in the chase, which ended more than a mile away when the car crashed into a muddy embankment.
McPhilamy said all of the suspects are from Massachusetts and have been identified as gang members. Two handguns, which were thrown from the vehicle have been recovered.
Cory Moody, who police said was driving the car, along with passengers Eyzaiya Moody and Walter Gadson, Jr., all face criminal charges.
Cory has been charged with obstructing an intersection; violating Georgia's controlled substances act (VGCSA), marijuana; simple battery; obstructing/hindering;kidnapping and fleeing.
Gasden was charged with obstructing and hindering; simple battery; kidnapping and fleeing. Eyzaiya was similarly charged, with an additional VGCSA marijuana charge.
"We're just incredibly thankful no one was injured," McPhilamy said. "This had such the potential, with weapons inside the vehicle, the officer pinned to the car, people fighting for control of the vehicle, right down to other vehicles on the roadway, innocently driving along."