NWGA Scanner | February 13th, 2021

Man rams stolen vehicle into trooper’s car while high on meth after 120 mph chase in Whitfield Co.

According to a Georgia State Patrol incident report, on October 12th, 2020, at 6:47 PM, TFC Shackleford was notified of a silver Ford Focus with a stolen tag out of Tennessee. Trooper Shackleford observed the vehicle, which was later confirmed stolen, traveling southbound on I-75 near mile marker 329 in the middle lane. She confirmed that the tag was stolen out of Tennessee and notified both GSP Troop A radio room and Whitfield County dispatch. The Ford Focus later identified as being driven by Leamon Skeens, 20, no address listed, exited the interstate on the southbound 328 exit ramp. Skeens turned into the Wendy’s parking lot after the trooper initiated a traffic stop. Trooper Shackleford reported, “[I] observed that the vehicle was not portraying normal driving behavior exhibited when a traffic stop is initiated.” “Based on my experience with stolen vehicles, [I] knew the vehicle would most likely flee.” The trooper positioned her patrol vehicle to the left of the Ford Focus. Skeens began to turn left to enter the left parking lot containing the innocent bystanders. As Skeens turned left, he struck the patrol vehicle on the passenger side front bumper with the driver side of the vehicle. Skeens turned left east onto GA 3, not slowing or yielding to traffic traveling west. Skeens initiated a high-speed felony pursuit with the trooper. The trooper approached each intersection cautiously, visually, and verbally clearing the intersections before entering. Skeens drove extremely reckless, reaching speeds of 120 miles an hour in a 55 mile an hour zone, showing complete disregard for the motoring public. The trooper used extreme cation as Skeens approached the intersection of GA 3 and Abutment Road, still driving reckless. Skeens turned north on Abutment Road. While traveling north on Abutment Road. Skeens continued to drive recklessly and erratically by driving in the wrong lane of traffic. Skeens failed to maintain his lane as he turned right onto Callahan Road. Skeens drove the majority of the way on the wrong side of the road, even while negotiating curves with limited sight distance. Skeens continued to show no regard for oncoming traffic or for the safety of other traffic on the roadway. Skeens exited the roadway multiple times while attempting to negotiate curves. Trooper Shackleford reported, “The manner of the pursuit showed that the driver was out driving his capabilities and was not in complete control of the vehicle he was attempting to operate.” Skeens nearly struck gray sedan head-on while in a curve. Skeens continued straight onto Twin Springs Road, which is a dead-end road. After driving recklessly down Twin Springs Road, Skeens came to a stop in the middle of the road. Skeens put the vehicle in reverse and accelerated towards the trooper’s patrol vehicle. The trooper attempted to reverse her patrol vehicle but could not outrun the speeding vehicle. The vehicle struck the patrol vehicle on the front with the rear of the fleeing vehicle. Skeens put the vehicle in drive and accelerated down Twin Springs Road. Skeens accelerated at a high rate of speed towards the trooper’s patrol vehicle once again. The trooper reversed her patrol vehicle, barely missing the fleeing vehicle attempting to ram her. Skeens traveled in reverse to the right of the patrol vehicle striking two mailboxes and a trash can. The trooper paralleled her patrol vehicle. Trooper Shackleford reported, “Due to the reckless driving exhibited by the driver, the safety of the public, the safety of myself, the safety of the occupants in the vehicle, and the low speed the vehicle was driving at the time, [I] decided to not let the vehicle regain a position on the road.” Skeens attempted to regain a position on the roadway and struck the trooper’s patrol vehicle again. Due to the angle of the impact, the vehicle rotated clockwise, traveling across the roadway and exiting the roadway to the left. The vehicle came to a final rest against the wood line and could not move. The trooper exited her patrol vehicle and un-holstered her state-issued Glock 45. A female, later identified as Brandi Gorham, 29 of Kingsport, Tennessee, stepped out along with a second passenger, later identified as Brandon O’Neal, 42 of Fort Myers, Florida. The trooper gave the occupants loud verbal commands to show their hands. Skeens was lying face down on the driver seat and center console, kicking the driver side window out. Skeens did not comply with any verbal commands and continued to kick at the window. Trooper Shackleford un-holstered her state-issued Taser X2. Skeens then attempted to dive into the passenger side floorboard, frantically trying to retrieve something. The trooper deployed her taser, making effective contact. Trooper reported being “uncomfortable and uneasy” after being “deliberately assaulted in the chase multiple times” and having multiple uncooperative occupants while alone. A Whitfield County deputy arrived on the scene shortly after helping the trooper detain the driver and passengers. After Skeens was placed under arrest, the trooper observed a large hunting knife in the passenger side floorboard where Skeens was placing his hands. All occupants were informed of their Miranda warning and separated as soon as they were detained. They were not allowed to speak to each other. Skeens advised he was driving up from Kingsport, Tennessee. Skeens advised it was about an hour ago since he last smoked meth. Skeens advised he borrowed the vehicle from a friend. Throughout the course of the investigation, the trooper advised Skeens began to shake more and more aggressively. When asked why he was shaking, he stated it was due to him smoking too much. Skeens then stated, “I ate some.” Skeens advised he ate methamphetamine about 20 minutes prior. Skeens also advised he consumed methamphetamine while he was fleeing. Skeens cut O’Neal’s hand with the hunting knife after he tried to stop him from fleeing. O’Neal stated Skeens said, “[I] will kill you”, and that is when the chase insured. The tag mounted on the vehicle was confirmed stolen out of Joneses, Tennessee. The silver ford fusion was confirmed stolen out of Kingsport, Tennessee. Skeens was transported to Whitfield County Jail charged with aggravated assault (gun), aggravated assault on an officer engaged in duties, second-degree criminal damage to property (business), felony interference with government property, DUI (drugs), felony tampering with evidence, reckless driving, running a red light, passing in no-passing zones, hit and run, felony fleeing/attempting to elude a police officer, misdemeanor driving with a suspended or revoked license, misdemeanor willful obstruction of law officers and misdemeanor theft by bringing stolen property into the state. Skeens remains in the Whitfield County Jail with no bond pending a court date on November 3rd.