A man wanted for aggravated assault on two Gainesville police officers is jailed in Union County after a multi-county vehicle pursuit Tuesday afternoon, Nov. 19.
“Just before 5 p.m. [Tuesday], Hall County sheriff’s deputies in the area of Hub Head Road in Clermont spotted a stolen car that had been involved in the assault of two Gainesville police officers on Monday, Nov. 18,” said Hall County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Derreck Booth. “Deputies were able to see the driver and identify him as Justin Ursel Folds, 25.”
When deputies activated their blue lights for a traffic stop, Folds sped up and failed to stop.
“Deputies followed Folds into White County, where he traveled north on Ga. 254 and then north of Cleveland on U.S. 129,” Booth said. “Hall County deputies called off their pursuit out of concern for officer/public safety and loss of radio contact.”
Farther up U.S. 129, troopers from the Georgia State Patrol and deputies from Union County Sheriff’s Office began pursuit of Folds again.
“The Troop B Communications Center advised Post 27 troopers of a pursuit northbound on [U.S.] 129 coming out of White County” according to a statement from GSP. “Union County S.O. units were involved in the pursuit as it continued north. The pursuit passed Post 27 troopers on 129.”
Folds was driving a 2018 Toyota Camry that was actively fleeing from numerous officers.
“Trooper 1st Class Cochran became the primary unit,” the GSP statement reads. “During the pursuit, the violator intentionally struck TFC Cochran’s patrol vehicle.”
The pursuit continued north into Blairsville.
When the violator traveled down a one-way street that came to a dead end, he attempted to back up and struck Cochran’s GSP patrol unit again.
“The pursuit ended, and the violator was taken into custody by a Union County deputy,” the GSP statement reads. “The suspect was taken to Union General Hospital for minor injuries.”
Folds was booked in at the Union County Jail on pursuit-related charges as the investigation continues.
Background on Monday’s assaults
On Monday, Nov. 18, around 11 a.m., Gainesville police officers were called to CVS Pharmacy on Park Hill Drive to investigate a suspicious person who was sitting in his car in the parking lot.
Cpl. Jessica Van said store employees told dispatchers the man, later identified as Justin Ursel Folds, 25, of Hampton, had tried to return items to the store with no receipt.
"Then afterwards he stayed in the parking lot in his vehicle, and so they were concerned," Van said, noting there had been other criminal activity in the neighborhood in the past.
When the two officers arrived at the scene, they saw Folds sitting in the driver's seat of his vehicle.
"The officers noticed abnormal behavior – he was in and out of consciousness – just acting very abnormal," Van said. "He was [also] being uncooperative. He would not provide his personal information."
Van said Folds refused to exit the vehicle, so the two officers, both female, tried to extract him from the driver's seat, but that's when he tried to drive away with the two officers partially inside the vehicle.
"Eventually, the officers were able to get loose after the vehicle had moved several feet," Van said. "They did sustain superficial injuries, but they are ok."
Van said Folds' size made the officers' task of trying to apprehend him more difficult. She said the police report indicated he is about 6-foot-8 and weighs 280 pounds.
Gainesville Police Department has charged Folds with two counts of aggravated assault on a police officer.
Van said it is possible more charges will be filed as the complete investigation unfolds.