Fleeing driver arrested after wreck, struggle, sheriff’s office says

The driver of a red Pontiac G8 that fled from Habersham County deputies remains jailed as of Wednesday afternoon on a list of charges related to that incident, as well as outstanding charges in Stephens and White counties. (Rob Moore/Habersham County)

A man was arrested after he crashed his car into a rock column, ran from deputies, and allegedly fought with them as they attempted to arrest him. Gary James Gordon Parris, 38, of Clarkesville, is facing charges in at least three counties, the Habersham County Sheriff’s Office says.

According to the sheriff’s office, a deputy saw a red Pontiac G8 driving too fast for conditions on GA 15/US 441 on Tuesday night, March 26. While checking for a valid license plate, the deputy noticed the car was missing its front bumper and appeared to be a project car. As the deputy tried to get a closer look, the car sped away, says county Public Information Officer Rob Moore.

“Between Tom Arrendale Interchange and Antioch Church Road, the deputy activated his blue lights to attempt a traffic stop, but the Pontiac remained a distance in front of him,” says Moore. “The driver tried to turn onto Antioch Church Road and lost control when he saw another deputy there.”

After regaining control, the driver, later identified as Parris,  turned onto Hollywood Hills Road. According to deputies, the car had no traction and lost control on the wet road. The Pontiac ran off the shoulder of the road and into a rock column outside a residence.

Foot chase and charges

“The deputy attempted to position his patrol SUV behind the car to keep it from fleeing again, but because of the wet surface, it came to rest at the driver’s side of the car with the Explorer’s PIT bumper against the car,” explains Moore. However, state troopers who investigated the wreck reported the deputy pinned the driver’s side door closed with his push bumper to prevent Parris from attempting to flee on foot.

Parris exited the vehicle through the passenger’s side door and fled on foot. He ran through the residential gate where he crashed. Deputies said he Parris had a holster on and continued to reach for it as they chased him on foot. He allegedly fought with deputies before they used a Taser to subdue and arrest him.

Habersham County EMTs evaluated Parris at the scene. According to Moore, he was not injured. Deputies booked Parris at the Habersham County Detention Center. He faces numerous charges, including fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer, possession of meth, obstructing or hindering law enforcement officers, reckless driving, DUI, failure to maintain lane, and driving on a suspended or revoked license.

Deputies later learned Parris had outstanding charges against him in Habersham, Stephens, and White counties. Moore did not elaborate on those charges. Now Habersham has contacted the sheriff’s office for more information.

Fifth chase this month

This is at least the fifth high-speed chase in Habersham County this month.

On March 4, a Demorest man shot and killed himself after leading police on a high-speed chase through Clarkesville.

Four days later, on March 8, state troopers from Hall County pursued a driver into Habersham County after he fled from a traffic stop.

On March 14, a motorcyclist was taken into custody after a two-county chase that resulted in two wrecked patrol cars and a manhunt.

And on March 17, a pickup truck driver fled from a game warden in the Lake Russell Wildlife Management area. When the chase reached speeds of up to 100 miles per hour, the game warden backed off and Habersham County deputies picked up the pursuit. It ended when the truck wrecked at the intersection of GA 365 and Demorest-Mt. Airy Highway.

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