January 18, 2006
18-year-old Joshua Hazelton, a suspected killer, is now accused of wreckless driving and injuring a police officer. It spanned four counties. McDuffie County as well as state officials were led on a very long and dangerous pursuit.
8:35 a.m. turned out to be a very big wake up call.
“It pretty much just got here and it all unfolded before we could set up or do anything,” said Don Hilson, Thomson Police Officer.
Officer Don Hilson’s patrol car helped put the brakes on a high speed chase after eighteen-year-old Joshua Hazelton, wanted for murder in Dekalb county, opened fire near I-20. He then escaped on wheels before slamming head on into Hilson.
“This is the worst accident I’ve been in,” Hilson said.
“He drove very wrecklessly, he passed on curves and on double yellow lines and on a hill, blind curves,” said Mark Bentley, Post Commander, Georgia State Patrol.
Sergeant Mark Bentley has reviewed this footage several times. It was taken by a deputy’s dash cam arriving on the scene just seconds after the crash. It was nothing but smoke and sirens at the intersection.
“I’m very glad that it ended as well as it did in spite of the damage to property and potential for injury that was there,” Bentley said.
Police later recovered Hazelton’s gun in the woods where he surrendered, still filled with bullets, their intentions unknown.
“I imagine our guys got our hands on ‘em I expect and put the cuffs on him and brought him out,” said John Hathaway, Thomson Police Chief.
An image that will help officials throughout four counties sleep a little easier after a fast-faced morning winds down. But their investigation won’t be taking a back seat anytime soon.
“We’ve been in contact with the McDuffie County DA’s office in reference to charges,” Bentley said.