Stephen Joe Clark
Photo: Thomas County Sheriff's Office
Photo: Thomas County Sheriff's Office

South Georgia chase leads to officer-involved shooting, GBI says

A South Georgia deputy fired at a fleeing suspect who struck another deputy during a chase Tuesday evening, pinning him between a van and a patrol car, the GBI said.

The van’s driver, identified as 45-year-old Stephen Joe Clark of Boston, Ga., took off about 8:30 p.m. after deputies tried to pull him over on U.S. 319 in Thomas County, authorities said.

Deputies followed Clark to Ga. 122, where they rammed his van in an effort to get him stopped, according to the GBI. Those efforts failed and Clark continued onto Skyline Drive, where deputies hit the vehicle again, causing Clark’s van to spin out in the roadway. 

The GBI said a Thomas County deputy then got out of his patrol car and attempted to use his Taser on the man, who struck the deputy as he drove away.

That’s when a second deputy fired at Clark, hitting the van but missing the suspect, police said. 

Clark was arrested after wrecking his van into a home on Sheppard’s Way and trying to run away, the GBI said.

He was booked into the Thomas County jail on charges of fleeing and attempting to elude, aggravated assault, methamphetamine possession, misdemeanor marijuana possession, possessing a Schedule 1 controlled substance and carrying contraband across the guard line, Thomas County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Steven Jones said.

The deputy struck by Clark’s van suffered non-life-threatening injuries. He was checked out at an area hospital and later released, the GBI said. Jones said the deputy stopped by the sheriff’s office Wednesday afternoon and is going to be fine. 

Tuesday night’s incident is the 23rd officer-involved shooting the GBI has been called to investigate this year.

RELATED: 3 officer-involved shootings in 18 hours, but pace down so far in 2019

Anyone with information about Tuesday’s chase and shooting is asked to contact the bureau’s Thomasville office at 229-225-2090. 

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