FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. - Moments after a judge sentenced a Decatur man to jail for failing to pay fines from a DUI conviction, Johns Creek police said he fled the courtroom, drove drunk during a pursuit with officers, then resisted arrest.
James Earl Johnson, 44, was hospitalized after the short chase Tuesday morning that ended in an office park off New Boyd Road in Suwanee.
“Charges are still pending,” Lt. Chris Byers told Channel 2’s Mike Petchenik. “We’re looking at everything that happened.”
When Petchenik and photographer Dana Mosley showed up to the scene, Johnson was being loaded onto a stretcher. Police said they had to use a tazer on him because he was fighting with officers.
During the pursuit, police said Johnson also drove at an officer, so he will face additional aggravated assault charges.
“It ends with no crashes and nobody getting injured, so yeah that’s always a good ending,” said Byers.
City Solicitor Bill Riley told Petchenik that Johnson failed to pay more than $2,000 in fines from a previous DUI conviction and the judge decided to sentence him to 63 days in jail.
“He was non-compliant in his probation and I guess his acts were consistent with his acts as a probationer also,” said Riley.
Michael Thifault told Petchenik he was in court Tuesday and witnessed Johnson’s sentencing.
“He was very argumentative with his parole officer as well as with the D.A. in there,” he said. “He just wouldn’t stop talking, trying to explain himself.”
After the sentence, Thifault said Johnson calmly sat down, then walked out of the courtroom. He said he didn’t realize Johnson had bolted until a bailiff ran out of the room after him.
“There was a commotion,” he said.
Thifault said he’s surprised Johnson would make his situation worse by running.
“The guy kind of had it coming to him with the way he was arguing with everybody in the courtroom,” he said. “Justice will be served on that guy.”