By Joe Johnson
An allegedly intoxicated Athens man was arrested last week after he crashed his car while speeding the wrong way on the Athens Perimeter and then reportedly fought with officers as they tried to take him into custody.
According to an Athens-Clarke County police report, Officer Haydn Asinas was traveling west on the perimeter’s outer loop near the Commerce Road exit shortly before midnight Friday when he slowed down upon seeing several vehicles in front of him braking and moving to the right.
Asinas then saw a Honda SUV driving toward him, traveling east in a westbound lane.
The officer noted in the report that after the SUV passed him at a high rate of speed, he activated his cruiser’s emergency lights and siren, then turned around to chase the wayward vehicle.
Asinas reported he had difficulty seeing the SUV because it had no taillights, but he eventually saw it when the vehicle left the roadway, struck a guardrail, and spun around.
As the officer positioned his car to block oncoming traffic from the accident scene, he saw the SUV’s driver “vault out of the driver’s window and begin to scream and motion his arms furtively,” Asinas wrote in the report.
The driver, identified as 48-year-old Courtney Antonio Burgess of Sunny Hills Drive, reportedly ignored the officer’s repeated commands to step away from the vehicle and reaching inside, the report noted.
Thinking that Burgess might be reaching for a weapon, the officer drew his gun and kept it at a low-ready position at his side while Burgess yelled that his leg was broken and asked for help from motorists who had stopped, according to the police report.
The officer maintained his position until backup arrived, at which time he began dragging Burgess away from the wrecked vehicle. Asinas noted in his report that Burgess resisted and continued trying to reach into his vehicle.
While Asinas fought with the man, they both fell to the ground, at which time the backup officer shot Burgess twice with a Taser gun, to little effect, according to the report.
Another officer then deployed a stream of pepper spray, which was ineffective on Burgess, but struck Asinas in the face, incapacitating the officer.
Asinas further reported that while he was incapacitated, other officers continued to fight with Burgess, eventually taking him into custody.
When searching the SUV, officers reportedly located about 60 oxycodone pills, an open can of beer, two small bags of cocaine, multiple cut straws that are typically used to snort powdered drugs, a small bag of marijuana and other drug paraphernalia.in several major
The report noted that Burgess had recently been involved in several “major” wrecks, one in which he rammed a vehicle into the Clarke County Jail’s main gate, and he had five outstanding arrest warrants.
Burgess reportedly broke a leg in one of the previous crashes and he reaggravated it when crashing Friday night. Thew report noted he was transported to the hospital to be treated for his injured leg and minor injuries that included scrapes and bruises.
“Burgess was cleared by medical personnel after fighting with them and hospital security as well,” according to the report.
When searched at the county jail, Burgess reportedly was found in possession of 20 more oxycodone pills.
Burgess was booked into jail on numerous charges that included driving under the influence of multiple substances, reckless driving, wrong-way driving, failure to maintain lane, driving too fast for conditions, possession of an open container of alcohol in a vehicle, possession of cocaine, possession of prescription drugs outside of the original container, driving on a suspended license, and two misdemeanor and one felony counts of obstruction of a law enforcement officer.
He remained in custody as of Tuesday afternoon, with no bail being set for a probation violation stemming from a trafficking in cocaine conviction and for twice failing to appear in court on motor vehicle offenses ahat included DUI.