NWGA Scanner | March 5th, 2021
According to a Floyd County Police Department incident report, on Sunday, February 28th, 2021, FCPD Officer Hunton was working an off-duty assignment with traffic in the construction zone on Shorter Avenue near Redmond Circle. While working, Lt. Pendley advised all units working the detail that witnessed a white SUV having difficulty driving. He stated that the vehicle may have a flat tire and was all over the road traveling west. Rome PD Lt. Greene, who was also working the detail, stated that the vehicle had just passed him with no lights on and had two flat tires. Floyd County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Black (Who was recently promoted to sergeant), who was also working the construction zone, attempted to shine his light at him and get him to stop. The black male driver, later identified as Zachariah Mountain Watkins, 25, of Rome, threw his hands up and continued to drive westbound toward Lt. Hunton location. The officers reported that Watkins was traveling at an increased speed, too fast for the condition of his vehicle and the construction zone. Lt. Hunton was standing near a marked unit with emergency lights activated parked facing southwest across the westbound lanes of Shorter Avenue. The officer was wearing a reflective traffic vest and utilizing a bright flashlight. Lt. Hunton stepped to the edge of the lane signaling the driver to stop using both his hand and flashlight. Watkins then swerved right toward Lt. Hunton, where he was standing. The officer had to jump out of the way to avoid being struck and killed by the vehicle. The officer was able to make eye contact with Watkins, who was looking directly at him. The officer quickly entered his marked patrol unit and gave chase. Watkins slowed before suddenly taking off again, continuing westbound. Watkins could not maintain his lane and accordion to the report, was placing himself and the motoring public in danger of being involved in a crash. Watkins then turned onto Blankenship Place and began traveling south. After traveling a short distance, the driver pulled to the west side of the roadway and came to a stop. Lt. Hunton pulled placed his marked unit in front of the Watkin’s vehicle in an effort to block him from continuing to flee. A Floyd County Sheriff’s Office car stopped behind the vehicle, followed by another FCPD patrol vehicle. Officers pointed their issued pistol at Watkins and began issuing loud verbal commands. Watkins vehicle rolled back struck the Floyd County Sheriff’s Office Explorer. No damage was reported to the patrol vehicle. Deputy Black and Officer Hutcheson removed Watkins from the vehicle and placed him under arrest. While giving commands to the Watkins, who was later confirmed to be a convicted felon, Lt. Hunton reported seeing a hot pink semi-automatic pistol lying on the dash of the vehicle. The officer could also at this time see two clear plastic bags of what appeared to be Xanax “bars”. Officers located the two bags of suspected Xanax in the passenger seat, a clear plastic bag of suspected marijuana in the driver’s side door pocket, as well as a small plastic bag of tablets in the driver’s side door pocket. Lt. Hunton reported, “There was loose marijuana scattered throughout the vehicle, as well as blunt wrappers and other debris common with illegal drug use, such as a cut or torn plastic baggies.” The gun returned as stolen through the city of Rome. Watkins stated that it belonged to his girlfriend and that she had called RPD to let them know she had found it. Officers confirmed via dispatch that the female was the listed owner of the firearm. Watkins was transported to the Floyd County Jail charged with fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer for a felony offense, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, marijuana-possess less than 1 oz., possession of a schedule IV controlled substance, aggravated assault on an officer in the performance of duties, reckless driving, too fast for conditions (basic rules), headlight requirement and failure to maintain lane.