CLEVELAND, Ga. – Clyde Loggins says the man who fell out of his truck, slumped over, after pinning a 3-year-old between two cars and killing him, has “lost his way.”
Loggins, who has known 36-year-old James Holcomb and his family for years, said that he lost his way, lost contact with his family and blamed Holcomb’s numerous DUI’s and arrests, on drugs.
This time, Holcomb, of Cleveland, Ga., was charged with first-degree vehicular homicide, DUI, reckless driving, driving with an expired license and operating a vehicle without insurance, after he drove into a parked car, trapping, and ultimately, killing Easton Cain on Jan. 17.
He was in court on Thursday for his first appearance in front of a White County judge.
Loggins, however, isn’t just a family acquaintance. He was in a car accident in December with Holcomb.
Although Holcomb destroyed the front of his historically restored red Ford truck, Loggins said he didn’t press charges. The cops were called, he said, but no charges were filed against a White County commissioner’s son.
Officials, however, took the stand on Thursday to keep him from getting out of jail.
"I feel like he is a danger to this community. I believe if he is released, he will commit another felony," Cleveland Police Chief John Foster said crying on the stand about Holcomb. Cleveland City Manager Michael Melton confirmed the suspect is White County Commissioner Lyn Holcomb's 36-year-old son.
"He will serve this community better sitting in jail. I oppose a bond. Based on his previous actions, he is a danger," White County Sheriff Neal Walden testified, referring to the three previous DUI charges and one possession of marijuana charge, beginning in 2001, when James, a construction worker, was 20 years old.
White County arrest reports for James Holcomb:
- DUI under 21 | Arrested at Circle K on Oct. 25, 2001 | Age: 20
- DUI, failure to maintain lane | Arrested on GA 75 on Jan. 11, 2002 | Age: 20
- Possession of marijuana | Arrested at 129/Jersey Drive on Jan. 19, 2003 | Age: 22
- Time to serve | Turned self in on March 14, 2003 | Age: 22
- Order of incarceration | Remanded, Lumpkin County Courthouse on June 4, 2003 | Age: 22
- Contempt of court | Arrested at Lumpkin County Sheriff's Office on April 9, 2003 | Age: 22
- Time to serve- 8 hours | Arrested at the White County Sheriff's Office on May 23, 2003 | Age: 22
- Time to serve- 28 days | White County Courthouse on Jan. 20, 2004 | Age: 23
- Probation violation | Arrested at the probation office on May 27, 2004 | Age: 23
- DUI, failure to maintain lane | Arrested at Bean Creek on Jan. 21, 2008 | Age: 27
- Reckless driving, first-degree vehicular homicide, D.U.I., operating a vehicle without insurance, driving on an expired license | Arrested at Ingles parking lot on Jan. 17, 2017 | Age: 36
When the judge denied his bond, the courtroom erupted with emotion, including tears from the police chief and sheriff.
James was driving a Chevrolet Avalanche and struck the rear of a parked and unoccupied Ford Explorer on Tuesday, according to witnesses Amber and Bryan Gruzenski.
Cain, who was with his mom in the Ingles parking lot, was standing at the rear of the Ford Explorer and was struck and pinned between the two vehicles.
“It was very chaotic. People were screaming, ‘Move the car!’ And the men were doing the best they could,” Bryan recalled.
He tried to help free the toddler.
“I reached through the passenger side, flipped the car off. We were able to get it in neutral and get the guy out and they rolled the car back,” he said. “We were doing everything we could to get the car off. And the guy was just slumped there, he was like a sack of potatoes.”
In fact, he said, when James fell out of his car, he had his legs crossed and his head down. The driver didn’t utter a word.
“It was just chaotic, oh my God, it was chaotic,” Bryan, who was visiting from Florida, said.
Cain’s mother was frantic, he said.
But the passersbys’ efforts weren’t enough.
Cain died in parking lot just before 1 p.m., on Jan. 17.
GSP arrived on the scene and conducted a sobriety test on Holcomb, the Gruzenskis said.
Police handcuffed him and took him into custody.
His next court appearance is slated for early February.
Cain’s funeral will be held Sunday at 3 p.m.