Woman flees police, wrecks vehicle
By Carol McLeod
A Swainsboro woman was arrested Thursday, Dec. 20, after what started out as a routine traffic stop turned into a car chase with law enforcement.
Stapleton Police Chief Tim Taylor said he was running radar on the south end of Ga. Hwy 296 on that day when he stopped a driver, Denny Steptoe from Adrian.
“I got him pulled over and found his license had been suspended,” Taylor said, adding Steptoe had two outstanding warrants from two other counties. One warrant was for child support and the other was for disorderly conduct, he said. “She was a passenger in the car.”
Taylor said he had arrested Steptoe, handcuffed him and placed him in the back of his patrol car, when the woman, Jennifer Lei Bazemore, 35, approached the driver’s side of Taylor’s patrol car.
“I was in my car running his license and she came over to the driver’s side of my car. I told her I would get back with her in a second,” Taylor said. “She went and stood behind the car and my car.”
Taylor said when he got back to her to ask her if she could drive for Steptoe since he had been arrested, Taylor could tell she had been drinking.
“I could smell it and I could tell by her demeanor that she was drunk,” he said, adding that a couple of hours later, she registered a blood alcohol level of .26, the legal limit for drivers is .08.
When he started explaining what was going to happen with Steptoe, Taylor said she began yelling and cursing at him.
“(She was) saying I was wrong for taking him; he was taking her to an AA meeting or something like that,” Taylor said. “I told her if she didn’t calm down, she would be arrested for disorderly conduct. I could see a kid in the back seat of the car. I thought she was about 12 or 13 because she looked real young and she was small in stature.”
Taylor said he later discovered the girl was Bazemore’s ex-husband’s daughter, 17 years old, and no relation to Steptoe. He said he advised Bazemore that she was under arrest and took her by the arm to escort her to his patrol car.
“She started pulling away from me and starting swinging (at me) but she never did make contact,” Taylor said. “Her shirt, like a T-shirt, it ripped and when it ripped, she fell to the ground. Once she got up, she ran back and got in the driver’s side of the car.
When she got in and started the car, the teenager jumped out of the car. When the teenager jumped out and was beside the passenger door, I couldn’t hear what Bazemore was saying but I could hear the teenager say, ‘No, I’m not getting in. I’m not getting in. I think you’re crazy. You’re crazy.’
“The girl ran across the street and when she went into somebody’s yard out there, Bazemore swerved the car, driving into the people’s yard across their ditch. She pulled up beside the girl, trying to get her in the car.”
Taylor said he could hear the teenager say, “I’m not getting in. You’re crazy. You’re wrong.” The teenager then ran into another person’s yard.
“Bazemore swerved the car around again, trying to get the girl in the car. All the time, I’m driving behind her with lights and siren on,” Taylor said. “So once she couldn’t get the little girl in the car, she took off south on Hwy 296. She was driving about 60 or 65 mph and she kept swerving towards other cars and slamming on the brakes.”
Taylor said he wanted to keep her in sight, as he still had Steptoe in the back of the car.
“I think she was trying to make me hit her car in the back, so the impact would deploy my airbag and make it impossible for me to drive,” Taylor said. “I had called this in when she broke free so back up was on the way. After we went passed Brittney Street just outside of the city limits, she slammed on brakes and I stopped. At that time, she put the car in reverse. She backed up and I couldn’t go anywhere because cars were behind me. She backed the car into the front of my car.”
Taylor said his car was still drivable but the front end is damaged but there was not enough impact to deploy the airbag.
“Then she started driving forward and I followed,” Taylor said. “The guy in the backseat was hollering and cursing. He kept saying, ‘That (expletive deleted) is crazy. Let me talk to her.’ How is he going to talk to her? She’s driving.”
Taylor said Bazemore drove across Hwy 88, at which point deputies from Jefferson County caught up with them.
“And I just backed off and let them take it,” Taylor said. “We had been coordinating the chase on the radio. I heard them say she turned north on Hwy 1. I was going to take Steptoe to the county jail but I heard the deputies say on the radio that she had wrecked. So I went up there. They had taken her out of the car and had her handcuffed and she was yelling and cursing them. The state patrol came out and worked the accident.”
Taylor said Steptoe complained that his neck was hurt from when Bazemore hit the patrol car.
“I took him straight to the hospital from the scene and he checked out OK,” Taylor said. “I took him on to the jail. Then I went to the hospital the next day because my neck was stiff and they found a pinched nerve.”
Bazemore has been charged with open container, operator of vehicle; improper backing; driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs – first offense; interference with government property; obstruction or hindering law enforcement officers; fleeing or attempting to elude police officer; reckless driving; and two counts of aggravated assault.
Congress approves Louisville funding
By Carol McLeod
In a press release from his office, Congressman John Barrow (D-12) announced last week $658,000 to be provided to the city of Louisville. This funding, if approved by President George W. Bush, will provide the means for the city to renovate the older home on the Helen Clark Memorial Park property, according to Louisville City Administrator Don Rhodes.
“That’s money that we actually requested a couple of years ago and John’s (Barrow) been working on that. We’re tickled to death about this,” Rhodes said. “The original project amount was $987,750. The city’s going to come up with approximately $300,000 of that. That still leaves us short of the ideal but we will be able to trim some areas of the project and complete the majority of what we need.”
Rhodes said the funds will provide not only the renovations to the house at the park but will also create an addition. The new building will house a welcome center and a new city hall with administrative offices.
“And also, it will be to construct a new public safety building that will house the fire and police departments,” Rhodes said. “We started these plans at least four years ago.”
“This funding is an investment in the future of Louisville and Jefferson County,” Barrow said. “The citizens of Louisville will be getting the state-of-the-art facilities they deserve, and the building renovations will improve the look and feel of the entire area.”
Rhodes said the money is “one of the best Christmas presents I think I’ve had in a long time.”
Area officials share plans for their 2008 terms in office
By James Watson
As the New Year sets in, each city official and commissioner is given the chance to improve themselves, as well as the community and policy. They are given chances to improve in areas such as service improvements, budget improvements, commitment improvements and overall community improvements. Below are the statements given by local city officials concerning their hopes for the New Year.
• “I would like to improve a little bit more than in previous years. As a start, we recently paid off the courthouse renovations. Some issues that I would like to address are the one percent sales tax coming in, road improvements and buildings. I would also like to wish everyone a happy New Year!”
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Glascock County Commissioner
• “I would first of all like to see the county prosper. I want to see a year of change for the better in the county. I would like to see inner government agencies working together to solve problems instead of trying to solve problems on their own, to create a sense of unity. I would like to see our issues handled appropriately, and a greater sense of community confidence. I would also like to see more citizens voting, especially due to the elections this year. Finally, I would like to see more involvement with local office.”
Glascock Co. Magistrate Judge
• “Our goals are to complete county wide reevaluation of all classifications of real and personal property within the county to a point where all sales analysis studies are within an acceptable range of tolerance. We want to complete the overall design and all civil work for the new recreation site. We want to complete the architectural drawings for all buildings to include concession stands and a gymnasium. We want to complete the Sandersville Tech Health Science Building and be ready for spring quarter use. Complete all necessary addressing activities through out the year to provide the Census Bureau all necessary and accurate in formation needed to make an accurate population count. Complete audit of Emergency 911 addressing, dispatch procedures and radio and telephone equipment needs.”
Jefferson County Board
• “I think that our budget has been about the same for the past few years and it seems to be working fine that way. I would like to hire more officers so we can trim the budget and keep the citizens safer. We also have established a good relationship with the local community and we want to work harder and keep that relationship strong. We want to put more officers on patrol in certain areas, due to the violence that has recently been taking place. Our goal is to have 10 officers with three officers on patrol at all times. We also want to hire a full time investigator to investigate drugs and crimes to make it easier for our officers to protect the community.”
Wrens Police Chief
• “My first new goal is to renovate the house (located in Helen Clark Memorial Park) as the new city hall and welcome center of Louisville and have that completed this year and to provide a new facility for fire and public safety. To complete phase 1 of streetscape and to initiate phase 2 of streetscape with the money that the city has been awarded. We want to put into service the two new fully equipped police cars and to provide officers with Kevlar vests and Tasers. We also will promote city participation in the county-wide law enforcement cooperative that has been outlined by Sherriff Hutchins. We will promote city participation in the county-wide Communities of Opportunity effort and add Martin Luther King Jr. holiday to employees’ holiday roster next year and to continue our Easter egg hunt in the park. We plan to continue efforts to clean city streets and search for new industry and work in cooperation with the Jefferson County Development Authority. We want to provide education for our mayor and new city council members and promote open government and an open door policy with the mayor and council members. We will also work to improve the image of Louisville and to promote Louisville within the state.”
• “A new year signifies a new beginning, and with it, an opportunity to improve on all aspects of our lives. I believe that a person’s faith is fundamental in shaping his life and has an influence on how he reacts to the daily decisions that must be made. A personal goal of mine is to contribute to strengthen my faith so that I may be the best I can be for myself, my family and my constituents. I also want to improve the Sheriff’s Office and our service to the community. My goal has been and continues to be the removal of all illegal drugs from Glascock County.”
Glascock County Sheriff
• “I would like for all the law enforcement agencies in Jefferson County to work in a constructive way with each other for the citizens of Jefferson County. We are here as law enforcement to protect and serve the citizens of Jefferson County to the best of our ability.”
Jefferson County Sheriff