A Georgia State Patrol trooper opened fire on a driver who sideswiped his patrol car during a chase on Ga. 57, the GBI said.
Photo: Macon Telegraph
Photo: Macon Telegraph

UPDATE: State trooper chases, shoots man who sideswiped his car, GBI says

A Georgia State Patrol trooper shot a man who rammed his vehicle in Twiggs County on Tuesday morning before speeding off, authorities said. 

According to the GBI, the trooper was driving toward Augusta on Ga. 57 when a man in a white pickup truck sideswiped his unmarked patrol car and kept driving, prompting a high-speed chase that covered several miles.

The incident began about 11:20 a.m., GBI agent J.T Ricketson told AJC.com. 

The trooper chased the pickup and the two vehicles collided at least once more before crashing into a median approximately 3½ miles from where the pursuit began, he said. 

“The trooper got out and saw the subject holding a handgun,” Ricketson said.

The trooper then heard a gunshot, according to the GBI. 

“The trooper returned fire and struck the driver in the arm and hand area,” Ricketson said. 

The suspect, identified Wednesday as Clinton Matthew Smith, 38, of Gordon, was taken to Navicent Medical Center. His injuries are not life-threatening, and he is expected to be released from the hospital soon. 

It’s unclear why Smith crashed into the trooper’s Dodge Charger, or if he knew the man behind the wheel was a law enforcement officer.

“There were at least three people on this split highway that witnessed the contact between the two vehicles,” Ricketson said, adding that investigators were still speaking with those drivers. 

The GSP is investigating the crash and the GBI is handling the officer-involved shooting.

Smith will be taken to the Twiggs County Sheriff’s Office upon his release from the hospital, Ricketson said. He faces nine charges, including three counts of aggravated assault on a peace officer, two counts of duty in accidents involving damage to a vehicle, and one count each of possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime, criminal use of a firearm with an altered identification mark, criminal interference with government property and fleeing and attempting to elude a police officer.

This is the 12th officer-involved shooting the GBI has been requested to investigate in 2020, agency spokeswoman Nelly Miles said.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution also tracks officer-involved shootings that don't involve the GBI, and those numbers sometimes differ from the GBI's tally.

— Please return to AJC.com for updates. 

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