The wreck occurred as 22-year-old Darious Holmes was allegedly attempting to flee from officers with the Griffin Police Department.
Authorities say Holmes, who was the suspect in an ongoing narcotics investigation, “failed to maintain his lane when he drove into the opposing lane as he turned onto North Sixth Street,” after seeing a police car, occupied by Sgt. Gene Mathews and officer Kelly Moss, pass his vehicle, driving in the opposite direction.
“They (Mathews and Moss) were performing their roles as members of the Crime Suppression Unit, which, when not in a directed, specialized patrol capacity, involves patrolling the city, concentrating on crime beyond the resources of the Uniform Patrol Division,” said Cpl. Bryan Clanton, GPD spokesman.
“When I first turned on my emergency equipment and we topped the bridge, he was already between Central and Chappell streets, going north on Sixth Street. From the time we called dispatch to let them know we were going to do a traffic stop to the collision was 11 seconds,” Mathews said. “I lost sight of Holmes’ vehicle when he went over the bridge. As we crested the bridge, I could see that he had struck and overturned a Ford Explorer. Holmes disappeared by running down Chappell Street, but several witnesses to the crash identified him.
“The area of impact from the Mercury Cougar to the Ford Explorer was on the front driver’s side wheel, which at that point caused it to stand up on its front end, roll over once and come to a rest on all four tires,” Mathews said.
A second occupant of the 1994 Mercury Cougar driven by Holmes, 27-year-old James Andrews, who was also briefly taken into custody following the wreck before being released, is a cousin of the victim in this incident, Ray.
Police say Andrews and Holmes’ family were “instrumental” in his arrest.
“Within an hour, his (Holmes’) family had brought him to the Griffin Police Department. He denied his involvement in the incident. However, he could not explain his identification by the witnesses and his passenger,” Clanton said, adding that Holmes also had visible contusions on his chest, apparently resulting from the impact with the steering wheel. “James Andrews was detained but very forthright when asked to identify the driver. He was extremely upset that his family member was injured and was adamant that he had asked Holmes several times to stop the car. It was a coincidence that Mr. Ray was at the intersection when Holmes’ car struck his vehicle.”
According to Belinda Roberts, Ray’s aunt, the victim’s recovery remains uncertain at this time.
“Because of the severity of his injuries, they have to wait until Wednesday to try to put pins it. He’s looking at at least two more surgeries, then. They did surgery Saturday morning, but they weren’t able to do very much because of all the swelling,” Roberts said Monday. “He also suffered a broken rib and he may possibly have a spinal cord injury - they’re not sure, but they’re looking deeply into that.”
Roberts said Ray, an employee of the city of Griffin, was on his way home when the wreck occurred.
“He had called his wife and told her he had gotten really dirty at work that day and was going to take a shower at his mom’s house. An hour later, she got another call saying that he had been in a wreck,” she said. “He is in stable condition in a regular room right now. They put him in a room Saturday, around 3 or 4 p.m. My brother told me yesterday that he doesn’t have any feeling in his arm. They were looking at amputating it, but they’re hoping they won’t have to - they’re going to try and save it. Who knows? Maybe if they can give him enough therapy, he might be able to have some use of it in the end, but the doctors aren’t sure yet.”
Holmes, who was on felony probation at the time of the incident, was driving with a suspended driver’s license due to an earlier conviction for violating the Georgia Controlled Substances Act, Clanton said.
Holmes remains in the Spalding County Jail, charged with felony fleeing and attempting to elude, felony leaving the scene of an accident, obstruction of an officer, two counts of failure to obey a traffic control device, failure to maintain a lane, driving on a suspended license, concealing the identity of a vehicle, duty upon striking a fixed object and probation violation.
“Depending on the outcome of Mr. Ray’s diagnosis, concerning the injuries to his arm, another charge, serious injury by motor vehicle, may be added,” Mathews said. “If he (Ray) loses his arm, or the ability to use his arm, he’ll (Holmes) be charged with this, as well.”