NWGA Scanner | May 24th, 2022
According to a Dalton Police Department incident report, “On May 8th, 2022, at 6:08 PM, dispatch advised of a 911 call stating that there was a black older model truck on Abutment Road driving recklessly and possibly DUI. Dispatch advised that the truck was last seen traveling northbound on Abutment Road. Officer R. Shope spotted the older model black truck stationary in the turning lane facing northbound just north of VD Parrott Pkwy. Officer Shope reported, “[I] was passing the vehicle [I] noticed that both doors were open and the male behind the wheel was attempting to start it. [I] got behind the vehicle, activated my lights, and approached the subject in the driver’s seat, Joseph Curtis Messer, 24, of Crandall. He was still attempting to start the vehicle as [I] was approaching, and when [I] got closer, he stood up. [I] immediately suspected that he was under the influence of alcohol because Messer seemed to have a hard time keeping his balance and his eyes were extremely red and glassy. When [I] started talking to him, [I] could smell a very strong odor of alcohol coming from his mouth area. Messer told me that the battery was dead on the truck, and he again attempted to start the vehicle. [I] told him to stop and hand me the keys and step to the back of his vehicle to speak to Officer Bethune, who had just arrived on scene.” Messer then started saying that he was not driving and the passenger, David Elrod, was the one driving. When he moved out of the vehicle, [I] witnessed a loaded handgun on the floorboard. The passenger Elrod and advised officers that he had been drinking as well. He said that Messer had been driving the entire time, and he had never been driving. While Officer Bethune was speaking, Messer kept trying to walk back to the vehicle. He had to be stopped and escorted back to the rear of the vehicle by officers. Officer Bethune had to tell Messer several times to get off his phone, and Messer just kept yelling no. Officer Shope reported, “[I] went up to Messer and snatched the phone from him because my intention was to continue my DUI investigation. Due to this investigation, Messer would obviously not be allowed to talk or text on his phone. [I] put the phone in the bed of the truck, and Messer reached for it again, pushing my hand out of the way.” Messer advised the officer he was not going to that. Messer was then placed into custody. Messer began resisting arrest during this time and attempted to pull away from officers. Officer Shope reported, “When [I] was able to pull his hand off the tailgate, he just flexed his arm in front of him and started struggling to keep me from putting his arm behind his back. Officer Bethune and [I] were then able to take Messer to the ground with very minimal force applied. We were then able to place handcuffs on him even though he was struggling the entire time and trying to pull away from us.” Officer Bethune suffered a large scrape to his left elbow while struggling with the drunk driver. Elrod stated that he had been drinking all day with Messer, and for some reason, they decided to drive around. Elrod stated that Messer was driving very recklessly while they were traveling down Abutment Road. Officer Shope attempted to read Messer implied consent, but the entire time, he was screaming and yelling at him. The officer spoke to the 911 callers, who stated they both witnessed the vehicle driving extremely recklessly all over the roadway on Abutment Road. While en route to the Whitfield County Jail, Messer made threats about what he was going to do when we got to the jail. He said several times, “Just wait until we get there”. Messer was charged with obstruction of a law enforcement officer, DUI less safe, and driving on a revoked license. According to Whitfield County arrest reports, Messer has had previous arrests for DUI.