The Stephens County Sheriff’s Office says a Toccoa man faces charges for fleeing from deputies at a safety check Monday.
Stephens County Sheriff Randy Shirley said that it started at about 1:30 p.m. Monday when a white Jaguar driven by 44-year-old Sidney Fortson of West Spring Street in Toccoa pulled up to the safety check at the intersection of Defoor and Pinetree Roads.
“As the deputy went to the window to look at his driver’s license and so forth, he could smell a strong odor of marijuana emanating from inside the car,” said Shirley. “The deputy asked him if he had been smoking marijuana and he finally said ‘yes’. The deputy asked him if would agree to a field sobriety test to make sure he was not impaired, to which he agreed.”
Shirley said Fortson was asked to step out of the vehicle and while waiting to start the test, he ran back to his car in an effort to flee with a deputy chasing him.
“As he got into the car, he got it cranked and the deputy reached in and was trying to pull him out with the door open,” said Shirley. “Fortson pulled away and jerked the deputy up off his feet and (he) went airborne, injuring his shoulder and also when he struck the pavement, (he) received a lot of road rash on his arms.”
That deputy went to Stephens County Hospital, said Shirley.
The sheriff said a second deputy was struck by the Jaguar’s outside mirror as Fortson drove off.
Shirley said Fortson eluded an initial chase, but was spotted getting into a van on Highway 123 near the state line.
At that point, Shirley said the pursuit resumed back towards Toccoa.
“As we approached the old WABCO plant, he turned there and went by the airport and went up Hayes Street,” said Shirley. “We were able to get the Georgia State Patrol, my deputies, as well as Toccoa Police officers in the area. We did a rolling roadblock and pinned him in.”
The sheriff said Fortson was taken into custody without incident.
He is charged with two counts of aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, two counts of felony obstruction, one count of fleeing, and reckless driving.
Shirley went on to say that Fortson is no stranger to law enforcement in Georgia, having served time on drug charges, along with charges of aggravated assault and voluntary manslaughter previously.
The sheriff said he is glad that Fortson is again off the streets and that it did not turn out worse than it did.
“Just fortunate that the deputies are okay,” said Shirley.
According to the sheriff, Fortson is in the Stephens County Jail awaiting a bond hearing before a Superior Court judge.
The deputy taken to the hospital is recovering from those injuries.