A Sept. 22 afternoon patrol in the area of Auburn Road and Fence Road turned into a high-speed pursuit after a vehicle quickly left the scene of what initially appeared to be an accident.
According to the Gwinnett County Police report, the officer was on patrol when he noticed two vehicles on Fence Road, one of which -- a tan Ford Taurus -- appeared to be blocking a white passenger vehicle. Upon spotting the patrol car, a man who had been standing near the white passenger vehicle ran back to the Taurus. The driver of the white passenger vehicle then backed up and drove around the Taurus at a high rate of speed. The white passenger vehicle turned onto Auburn Road and the tan Taurus followed.
The officer began following the vehicles.
“The driver of the white vehicle saw me turning around and accelerated,” the officer wrote in the report. “The vehicle was in excess of 80 miles per hour and traveling west on Auburn Road toward Dacula.”
The driver of the white vehicle attempted to slow down to turn on Chippewa Oak Drive, but struck a curb and blew a tire. The driver and passenger exited the vehicle and started to run.
“I drew my duty weapon and ordered the subjects to stop where they were,” the officer wrote in the arrest report.
According to the report, the driver, later identified as Christopher Costley, 24, of Lawrenceville, reportedly began crying and said he and his passenger, Zachary Conine, 18, of Buford, were just trying to get away from the driver of the Taurus. Costley told police the driver of the Taurus had broken the windshield of his vehicle and he had no idea why the man had attacked them.
The officer ran both men’s names and learned that Costley’s license had been suspended. While placing Costley under arrest for driving with a suspended license and for fleeing and attempting to elude police, the officer noticed a faint odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle.
During a subsequent search of the vehicle, the officer found a glass jar containing three small baggies of green, leafy material suspected of being marijuana. Since the jar was found where Conine had been sitting, he too was placed under arrest. The officer then located a backpack that held another jar containing 10 baggies of green, leafy material. The backpack also contained a scale, small baggies and a grinder. In addition, the officer seized $1,745 that Costley had in his possession at the time of his arrest.
Costley was booked into the Gwinnett County Jail on charges of marijuana possession with intent to distribute, fleeing or attempting to elude police and driving while license suspended. As of Oct. 1, he remained jailed on those charges. Conine was booked on a charge of marijuana possession with intent to distribute. He was released the following day on a $5,700 bond.
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