January 18, 2006
It all started in Morgan County Wednesday morning at about 7:30. At an exit off I-20, Joshua Hazelton fired several shots at a tractor-trailer. He wasted no time, jumped in his car and headed toward Columbia County. Georgia State Patrol caught up with him in Warren County, followed him to Columbia County, through a median, and back toward Thomson where it all ended in some woods. News 12 picks up the story there.
“We were listening to the chase on the radio when they said it was coming in on 150, this is 150, our cars came out here to see if they could assist,” said Chief John Hathaway, Thomson Police Department.
But one of those cars got in Joshua Hazelton’s way.
“He tried to avoid hitting the vehicle at the intersection and instead he hit me head on,” said Officer Don Hilson, Thomson Police Department.
That couldn’t stop Hazelton. He pulled a gun on another officer. That officer tried to pin him to the fence with his vehicle but he still got away.
About 100 yards into the woods is where officers found Joshua Hazelton. With about two feet of soggy mud and water to get through, he tossed his gun and gave up.
It was a peaceful end to what could have been deadly.
“We called the school and told them to shut down because he was headed in that direction with a weapon and we advised everybody to shut everything down. We didn’t know where he was gonna end up at,” Hathaway said.
In the end, Hazelton wound up in the McDuffie County Jail. It wasn’t until officers drained the water in the woods that they found his gun.
“He had supposedly fired at a car or shot at a car, and it was reported to law enforcement,” Hathaway said.
A 357 revolver, 5 out of 6 rounds used. And with his journey spanning at least four counties, it is a mystery for now as to where they were fired.
The officer hit during this incident has a bruised hand.
Investigators in McDuffie County are now looking into exactly what happened before the chase started.