ATHENS, Ga. (WGCL) — An Athens-Clarke County police officer has been fired after a collision involving his patrol car and a suspect who fled from authorities on foot.
Officers Taylor Saulters and Hunter Blackmon were riding as a two-person unit when they saw what police described as a man with felony warrants in the Triangle Plaza area.
Officer Blackmon left the patrol car to make contact with the man, identified as Timmy Patmon, who police say fled on foot.
The police spokesperson says Officer Saulters stayed in his patrol car and tried to get ahead of the foot chase to cut Patmon’s path off, but ended up hitting a curb and stop sign. The officer tried again to get ahead of Patmon, and ultimately collided with the suspect at what authorities described as a low speed on the road.
Patmon was taken to the hospital for treatment and eventually taken to jail. He suffered scrapes and bruises, according to the police spokesperson. He was charged with violating his probation and obstructing a law enforcement officer.
Officer Saulters was originally placed on administrative leave pending an internal affairs investigation, but after reviewing body-camera footage, Police Chief Scott Freeman terminated his employment with the department.
++ Athens-Clarke County Police Department Facebook Post: ++
On June 1, 2018, at approximately 7:30 pm, Officer Hunter Blackmon and Officer Taylor Saulters were on patrol in the area of Vine Street and Nellie B Avenue. Blackmon observed a subject, Timmy Patmon, which he knew to have a felony probation warrant.
As the officers confirmed the validity of the warrant and attempted to make contact with Patmon, he fled on foot. Blackmon pursued Patmon on foot, and Saulters attempted to get ahead of Patmon with his patrol car.
During the course of the foot chase, Saulters attempted to block Patmon’s path of escape on two occasions with his patrol car. During Saulter’s first attempt to block Patmon, Saulters struck a curb and flattened his driver’s side front tire.
On Saulter’s second attempt to block Patmon’s path with his patrol car, and during the maneuvering of the patrol car Patmon impacted the right front quarter panel of Saulters’ car as Saulters was attempting to accelerate past Patmon.
Officers requested an ambulance to evaluate Patmon, and he was then transported to a hospital for evaluation. After being medically evaluated and cleared for arrest and booking, Patmon was turned over to the Clarke County jail.
The extent of Patmon’s injuries were scrapes and bruises. Patmon is charged with violating his probation and obstructing a law enforcement officer.
Athens police Chief Scott Freeman initially placed Saulters on administrative leave, initiated an internal affairs investigation, and requested that the Georgia State Patrol and Georgia Bureau of Investigation conduct independent investigations of the incident.
After reviewing the officers’ body camera footage, and all the other facts and circumstances of this case, Chief Scott Freeman terminated the employment of Officer Taylor Saulters.