Crime

Man opened fire on sheriff’s deputy during 130-mph chase down I-75, cops say

A northwest Georgia man was captured in southern Monroe County on Wednesday after an apparent night on the run that began with an alleged high-speed interstate chase in which he was said to have opened fire on a sheriff’s deputy.

Justin Michael Donley, 27, of Rockmart, was caught soon after a clerk at the BP gas mart on Rumble Road along Interstate 75 spotted Donley and alerted the authorities.

Monroe sheriff’s officials said Donley had been a passenger in a southbound 2013 Lincoln sedan that a sheriff’s deputy tried to pull over for speeding a few miles north of Forsyth shortly before 8 p.m. Tuesday.

The car, however, did not stop and as the deputy was about to ram it to a halt, officials said Donley leaned out of the Lincoln and fired three shots, one of which struck the right headlight of the deputy’s cruiser.

The 130-plus-mph pursuit ended after about 10 miles at a rest area just north of the Interstate 475 interchange. The Lincoln wheeled into the rest area and crashed into some trees.

Deputies said that Donley and the car’s driver, Eugene Coreyl Wilson, of Covington, got out and ran in different directions.

Wilson, allegedly armed with a gun, was caught near Pea Ridge Road and U.S. 41 not long after midnight. He has been charged with aggravated assault on a peace officer, eluding police, driving without a license, reckless driving, speeding and drug charges, which stemmed from the alleged discovery of an ounce of cocaine and 5 ounces of methamphetamine in the wrecked Lincoln.

Donley faces charges similar accusations, including multiple firearms charges.

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Monroe County investigator Jacob Robins places a hand gun on a table at the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office recovered after capturing two suspects from a high speed chase Tuesday evening. Jason Vorhees jvorhees@macon.com

It wasn’t clear where the pair might have been headed, though Monroe Sheriff Brad Freeman said they appeared to have recently left the Atlanta area.

“The story we got really doesn’t make any sense,” the sheriff said. “I don’t want to release what statements one of them said.”

Donley was released from a Georgia prison in May 2018 after serving a portion of a 15-year sentence for a 2013 burglary in Pike County.

In June, he was arrested in southern Kentucky after allegedly leading police there on a 100-mph car chase. The Times-Tribune newspaper in Corbin, Kentucky, reported that Donley posted a $10,000 cash bond and was released July 2.

Freeman, the Monroe sheriff, said the drugs and guns in the Lincoln on Tuesday night “certainly motivated him to try to get away.”

Joe Kovac Jr. covers crime and courts for The Telegraph with an eye for human-interest stories. A Warner Robins native, he joined the paper in 1991 after graduating from the University of Georgia.
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