NWGA Scanner | June 28th, 2021

Dalton man arrested for DUI after leading Dalton PD officers on pursuit and resisting arrest

According to a Dalton Police Department incident report, on June 17th, 2021, at around 2:02 AM, Officer Hill was on patrol and traveling southbound on North Thornton Avenue towards the intersection of West Waugh Street. The officer observed a white 2021 Honda Civic make a left turn in front of another vehicle going straight without yielding to a vehicle, nearly causing a crash. Officer Hill reported, “[I] got behind the white Civic and activated my emergency blue lights in order to initiate a traffic stop. [I] initiated my traffic lights on West Waugh Street prior to passing Jones Street. As soon as [I] activated my emergency lights, the vehicle turned on its right-turning blinker and began to slow down while in the outside lane. The vehicle then continued past Jones Street, going westbound on West Waugh Street. As we approached the intersection of Trammel Street, [I] could tell that the vehicle was most likely not going to stop due to it not slowing down.” Another unit was requested as they continued westbound on West Waugh Street. The officer then activated his emergency sirens to alert the driver. Officer Herrera quickly arrived at the location and followed behind Officer Hill. While continuing to travel westbound, the white civic failed to maintain the lane several times. Officer Hill reported, “The driver did not take any evasive maneuvers. He did not run any stop signs, traffic lights, or speed up to a limit that [I] believed that he was trying to take evasive action.” The driver, later identified as Edgar Junior Velez, 34, of Dalton, continued at normal speeds failing to pull over. Velez then made a left-hand turn to go west onto Heathcliff Drive. Then made another left onto Hampton Ct and pulled into a parking spot. Officer Hill reported, “[I] notified dispatch of every road we passed and turned we made. [I] also notified dispatch and Sergeant Corso of our speed. We had traveled for approximately 1.8 miles in approximately four minutes. During this time, my emergency lights were activated the entire time. [I] also activated my emergency sirens several times to make sure that Velez was aware of my presence and aware of my intentions to pull him over.” Officer Herrera and Officer Hill immediately exited their patrol vehicles and conducted a high-risk traffic stop on Velez. They began to issue a loud verbal command for Velez to exit his vehicle with his hands up. Velez ignored commands and stated that he had already called his father and that he had not done anything wrong. Velez refused to turn away from officers as ordered and refused to cooperate with their lawful commands. Velez lowered his hands multiple times throughout the encounter even though he was issued several loud verbal commands for him to keep his hands up. According to the report, Velez continued to say that he “Didn’t do nothing wrong”. Officer Johnson, Officer Jenkins, and Sergeant Corso arrived on the scene to assist. Officers were able to sneak behind Velez and grab both of his arms. Velez tucked both of his arms under his stomach and resisted attempts to handcuff him. After struggling with Velez for a few, officers were finally able to get Velez in handcuffs. Officer Hill reported, “During the high-risk traffic stop, [I] made note of that fact that Velez’s speech seemed to be slow and slurred. After he was handcuffed, Officer Jenkins noticed that there was an open container of an alcoholic beverage sitting in the cup holder of the vehicle closest to the driver’s seat. There were two other unopened cans of alcoholic beverages inside the vehicle. While speaking to Velez, [I] detected the distinct smell of an alcoholic beverage coming from his person. [I] also observed that his eyes were very watery.” Velez advised he did not stop because he was scared and he was already so close to home. Officer Hill asked Velez if he had any alcoholic beverages to drink recently. Velez stated that he had two drinks. Velez stated that he had a house margarita from a nearby Mexican restaurant. Velez was transported to the Whitfield County Jail, where Velez showed a BAC of 0.255 on the state breath test. According to the report, “While at the jail, Velez stated multiple times that he had done a “bad thing.” He also complimented me and my fellow officers by saying that we were “Breathtaking” and had done a “Really good job.”” Velez admitted to seeing the emergency lights and hearing the emergency sirens. He stated that he just wanted to make it home. Velez was charged with DUI, open container violation, misdemeanor willful obstruction of law officers, failure to yield, and fleeing/attempting to elude a police officer.