NWGA Scanner | February 26th, 2021
According to a Dalton Police Department incident report, on February 21st, 2021, at around 2:25 AM, Officer Bethune was stationary in the area of 933 Market Street (Oyster Pub) watching traffic when he observed a white 2001 Dodge Ram leaving the parking lot at a high rate of speed. The Dodge Ram quickly turned behind an unrelated vehicle and continued to travel behind it at a close and unsafe distance. As the vehicle traveled north on Market Street, it crossed over the double yellow line to the left of the vehicle with both left tires. Officer Bethune attempted to conduct a traffic stop on the Dodge Ram. The Dodge Ram turned left onto West Walnut Avenue. The officer had his emergency blue lights activated. The Dodge then turned North onto I-75 and continued without stopping for the traffic stop. Officer Bethune gave several audible signals with his emergency siren in an attempt to get the driver’s attention in the case that he did DUI and did not see the emergency equipment. Officer Bethune reported, “[I] was unsure if the vehicle was fleeing as [I] suspected that the driver was impaired due to the driving [I] had observed and observing it leaving the Oyster Pub (933 Market St), an establishment known to be a bar. At this point, the vehicle had still not been evasive or made an evasive maneuver.” Once the Dodge reached the end of the ramp, it made an abrupt and evasive maneuver onto I-75, crossing over the solid white line to the left of the ramp. The Dodge Ram then accelerated at a high rate of speed. The officer advised dispatch that the vehicle was fleeing from and gave the vehicle information advising to notify Whitfield County SO and Tunnel Hill PD. The officer deactivated his emergency blue lights per Dalton Police Department policy and advised dispatch that he would not be in pursuit. At approximately 3:00 AM, Officer Bethune was advised by dispatch that Whitfield County deputies and a Tunnel Hill Police Department Officer had located the 2001 Dodge Ram at the Mapco located at 702 North Varnell Road and had the driver, later identified as Perry Ball, 32, of Resaca detained. Officer Bethune then advised his shift supervisor, Lt. Bishop, and responded to the address. The officer spoke with Whitfield County Deputies Greene and Schaub and Tunnel Hill Police Officer Witt who advised they located the vehicle and confirmed the tag number on the rear. A deputy advised as soon as they made contact with Perry, he became belligerent and was yelling at the officers. Officer Witt quickly detained Perry and advised him that he was being detained pending an investigation. Perry quickly denied fleeing from any police officer. When Perry exited the vehicle, officers observed a ziplock baggy of suspected marijuana in the driver’s seat. As Officer Bethune was reading Perry his Miranda rights, Perry replied, “F**k you, man!” and continued to yell and cuss at him. While speaking with Perry, the officer detected a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from his person/mouth area. He also noticed that Perry’s speech was slurred. Perry refused to provide the officer with any of his information. Officer Bethune was then advised by several people, including a Georgia Department of Corrections officer, That Perry entered the store and began bragging about running from the Dalton Police. A witness who works for a GDC was wearing his agency logo on his clothing, at which point Perry asked him if he was “a cop”. Perry then asked him, “To not tell the police across the street.” Referring to the two deputies and the police officer that were parked across the roadway. Another separate witness said the first thing that Perry stated when he walked inside the store was, “I just left the Oyster Pub and had Dalton PD on me. I ran from them from Walnut to I-75”. Another witness and an employee of the business gave the same statement.
As Officer Bethune was walking with Perry to his patrol vehicle, he reported that Perry stumbled several times and had to keep ahold of his arm to make sure he did not fall. I then placed him in the rear set of my patrol car. Perry was still very belligerent and constantly cursing the officer. Perry continued throwing a tantrum and began kicking the inside of the patrol car door from the rear seat. While en route to the jail, Perry continued to yell and curse at the arresting officer. After learning that he was going to be charged with DUI, Perry, who fled the officer to avoid getting a DUI, asked the officer, “Can you just make something up like I was smoking a joint or something? I can’t get charged with DUI again. Just make something else up.” At the Whitfield County Jail, Perry became uncooperative with jail staff and had to be taken to the ground by jail staff after he tried to fight with them. During the encounter with jail staff, Perry threatened to kill the jail officers. Officer located his ID and learned that he had an active arrest warrant for hit-and-run and failure to maintain lane. Perry was charged with terroristic threats and acts, possession and use of drug-related objects, open container violation, misdemeanor willful obstruction of law officers, hit and run, two counts of failure to maintain lane, felony fleeing/attempting to elude a police officer, following too closely, reckless driving, improper lane change or usage, failure to yield to an emergency vehicle and DUI.