NWGA Scanner | April 12th, 2022
On April 1st, 2022, around 10:31 PM, Dalton Police Department officers stopped a 2014 white Ford Fusion displaying a Georgia temporary tag after observing the driver, Austin T. Blackmon, 28, of Dalton, driving extremely recklessly at a high rate of speed in the area of North Selvidge Street. Officers took the extremely uncooperative man in custody and located several open containers inside the vehicle. Officers were on scene with detectives at the location of the overnight homicide when they observed the Fusion run several stop signs at a high rate of speed, squealing out as it turned. The driver advised he had just recently bought the vehicle, and the vehicle was having some mechanical problems causing it to drive erratic. Blackmon was booked into the Whitfield County Jail, charged with reckless driving and open container violation
According to a Whitfield County Sheriff’s Office incident report, On April 2nd, 2022, at 8:52 PM, Lt. Gibson responded to the area of I-75 South, at the entrance ramp. According to the report, “The Whitfield County 911 Center (dispatch) advised that a concerned citizen was calling about a vehicle that was failing to maintain its lane. When Lt. Gibson began to get closer to the area, dispatch advised that the vehicle had exited the interstate at the 336 exit, and it was traveling toward Dalton from the exit. As Lt. Gibson got closer to the area, dispatch advised that the vehicle was turning onto Shugart Road from Chattanooga Road (GA Hwy 3). Lt. Gibson first observed the vehicle stopped at the traffic signal on Shugart Road at the entrance to Walmart. As the traffic signal turned green, Lt. Gibson observed the vehicle accelerate at a rapid pace. Lt. Gibson was eventually able to get behind the vehicle, and he observed it fail to maintain its lane by drifting into the center turn lane. As the vehicle, a 2014 white Ford Fusion displaying a Georgia temporary tag approached the intersection at Waugh Street, Lt. Gibson observed it dart into the center lane without signaling. After the vehicle came to a stop, Lt. Gibson observed the vehicle`s blinker begin to signal that the vehicle would be turning left. After turning onto Waugh Street, Lt. Gibson activated his blue lights near West Manly Street in order to initiate a traffic stop. As Lt. Gibson did this, he observed the vehicle fail to maintain its lane again as it drifted over the fog line, almost striking the curb.” The deputy approached the driver side of the vehicle and could see that the driver identified as Austin T. Blackmon, 28, of Dalton, was already holding his license out of the window. Blackmon stated he was having mechanical issues with his vehicle, but he was going home to an address just a short distance from the traffic stop location. According to the report, “Mr. Blackmon was very argumentative with the reasons that Lt. Gibson pulled Mr. Blackmon over, and he denied having made the violations. While Lt. Gibson was speaking with Mr. Blackmon, he could see that Blackmon’s eyes were bloodshot and watery. Lt. Gibson asked Mr. Blackmon if he had consumed any alcoholic beverages, but Mr. Blackmon stated he had not. Lt. Gibson then asked Mr. Blackmon if he would step out of the vehicle in order for Lt. Gibson to check Mr. Blackmon’s eyes. Mr. Blackmon became even more agitated, and he stated that he did mind. Mr. Blackmon stated that he had just retrieved his vehicle from being “impounded” this date from being stopped by law enforcement the previous date.” While checking Blackmon’s eyes for HGN, Lt. Gibson observed the lack of smooth pursuit in both eyes, distinct and sustained nystagmus at maximum deviation in both eyes, and the onset of nystagmus prior to 45 degrees in both eyes. According to the report, “Prior to checking for Vertical Gaze Nystagmus, Mr. Blackmon stated, “Man, I can Z-Y-X-W-V-R-Q-V-R…” Mr. Blackmon apologized for “wobbling”, and Lt. Gibson could detect the odor of an alcoholic beverage emitting from Mr. Blackmon.” During the field sobriety testing, Blackmon showed several indicators of alcohol impairment. Blackmon was then placed under arrest for DUI and agreed to the state test. During a search of the vehicle, Lt. Gibson discovered one open and an empty container of Fireball cinnamon whiskey in the driver door panel, Hall Mason Brandy with the seal cracked and still having contents in the passenger door panel, and another bottle of brandy without a lid screwed on under the front passenger seat with the contents spilling out. Blackmon was transported to the Whitfield County Jail, where he showed a BAC of .104. Blackmon was charged with failure to maintain lane, failure to signal, DUI / Alcohol / 0.08 Grams or more, 21 and Older. According to the report, “Lt. Gibson did fill out the Georgia Administrative License Suspension form. While trying to explain the form, Mr. Blackmon became highly agitated, stating that he was refusing to listen. As Lt. Gibson continued to try to explain the form, Mr. Blackmon talked over Lt. Gibson in a loud tone. Lt. Gibson asked Mr. Blackmon if he would sign the form, and he refused, continuing to speak in a loud tone about how he was refusing to cooperate. Mr. Blackmon then asked if Lt. Gibson wanted Mr. Blackmon to sign the form, but Lt. Gibson advised that he needed to explain the form to him. Mr. Blackmon stated he refused to listen, so Lt. Gibson advised Mr. Blackmon that he could return to the holding cell.