NWGA Scanner | December 29th, 2021
According to a Georgia State Patrol incident report, Hamilton County DA’s Office refused to prosecute a Tennessee man who fired shots at a GSP trooper in deadly November multi-state pursuit that ended in Hamilton County. According to a Georgia State Patrol incident report, on November 20th, 2021, at approximately 9:11 PM, Trooper Cody Cantrell was conducting speed enforcement on I-75 northbound at mile marker 341. Trooper Cantell checked a black 2012 Hyundai Sonata with dark window tint in the left lane at 91 miles per hour in a posted 70 mile per hour zone with his department-issued Pro-Laser. Trooper Cantell reported, “[I] attempted to initiate a traffic stop on the vehicle just south of the weigh station by activating my emergency blue lights. The driver, later identified as Joseph Massengill, 27, of Kingsport, TN, pulled into the weigh station and maintained a steady speed. [I] activated my emergency siren, and Mr. Massengill accelerated his vehicle to an extremely high rate of speed. [I] advised my communications center that Mr. Massengill initiated a felony pursuit.” According to the report, As Massengill approached mile marker 344, he nearly struck a vehicle in the right lane and then nearly struck a vehicle that was in the middle lane. According to the report, “Massengill was driving extremely reckless and was traveling at speeds well over 100 miles per hour.” Massengill made several erratic lane changes going across all lanes on the interstate and nearly striking several vehicles. Trooper Cantell reported, “It was clear that Mr. Massengill had no regard for public safety as he operated his vehicle in a reckless manner.” As the pursuit passed mile marker 345, Ringgold Officer Newman took secondary in the pursuit. Due to the dark window tint on the vehicle, the trooper could not tell how many occupants or if they had a seatbelt on. Massengill’s reckless and erratic driving made the trooper believe he was possibly under the influence. At exit 348 Catoosa County, Deputy Smith took second in the pursuit, and Officer Newman backed out in accordance with his department policy. Trooper Cantell reported that Massengill nearly struck two more vehicles as he recklessly drove between them and onto the right shoulder while at speeds over 140 mph. Trooper Cantell reported, “[I] knew that [I] would not be able to conduct a PIT maneuver on the vehicle due to traffic conditions and his reckless driving. A PIT maneuver would have been unsafe for me and the motoring public. As we passed the welcome center, Mr. Massengill’s driving behavior became even more reckless as he continued to operate his vehicle at high rates of speed, driving all over the interstate. Deputy Smith terminated his part in the pursuit at mile marker 353 in accordance with his department policy. Just before we crossed into Tennessee, [I] observed an individual, later identified as Jake Hobbs, 21, of Gray, TN, lean out of the passenger side of the vehicle. At first, [I] could not tell what was going on. We were still inside Georgia when [I] observed a muzzle flash and heard the gunshot. [I] quickly realized that Mr. Hobbs was shooting a gun at me and my patrol car. After the first shot, Mr. Hobbs nearly caused me to crash my patrol vehicle. It was clear to me at this point that whatever caused Mr. Massengill to run was serious enough for Mr. Hobbs to try and kill me.” Trooper Cantell reported after being shot at, he could not stop thinking about his nine-month-old daughter at home and how he did not want her to grow up without a father. Given the extreme danger, the trooper continued to pursue Massengill and Hobbs into Tennessee. According to the report, Hobbs continued to shoot at the trooper’s patrol vehicle several times on I-75 in Hamilton County, TN, while Massengill continued to operate his vehicle in an extremely reckless manner with no regard for public safety. The pursuit then went down Highway 153 with Hobbs firing rounds at the trooper with the intent to kill him. Trooper Cantrell reported, “Every time that Mr. Massengill slowed down on either an exit ramp or entrance ramp, [I] thought that he and Mr. Hobbs were going to get out of their vehicle and attempt to kill me by shooting me.” Massengill continued to drive extremely reckless in his attempt to avoid punishment with absolutely no regard for other motoring public. Finally, in the area of Dupont Parkway, a Hamilton County Deputy joined the pursuit and assisted. At Dotson Drive, Trooper Cantrell turned the pursuit over to Tennessee. According to the report, At highway 153 and Boyscout Road, the Hyundai Sonata crashed, ejecting both Massengill and Hobbs. According to the report, “Hobbs was quickly located in the area of the crash and was bit by a Hamilton County K-9 before being detained.” According to the report, Massengill suffered fatal injuries in the crash and was pronounced deceased at Erlanger Hospital. According to the Georgia State Patrol report, K-9 Officer Sergeant O’Brien located over a pound of Heroin was located in a book bag in the area of the crash with an estimated street value of $78,900. A loaded .380 caliber handgun was also located as well. According to the Georgia State Patrol report, “Hamilton County District Attorney’s Office refused to prosecute Hobbs in this case. So, an emergency warrant was issued in Catoosa County for felony aggravated assault against law enforcement in order to keep Mr. Hobbs from being released from Erlanger with no charges and walking free.” GBI Special Agent and Catoosa County detectives assisted Trooper Cantrell with the case and evidence. Hobbs was booked into the Catoosa County Jail on November 23rd, 2021, after being extradited back to Georgia. Hobbs was charged with unlawful to manufacture, deliver, distribute, dispense, administer, sell or possess with intent to distribute any controlled substance, discharge of gun or pistol near highway or street, interference with government property, possession and use of drug-related objects, aggravated assault against law enforcement officer when engaged on official duty, possession of firearm or knife during certain crimes, unlawful to purchase, possess, or have control of any controlled substance, and reckless conduct.