Driver crashes into jail, says she has explosives

A woman crashed her car into the front of the Gordon County Sheriff's office Thursday morning, officials said, but this crash was no accident -- the woman threatened officers by alleging she had a bomb.

Johana Cortes, 24, attempted to drive her blue 2005 Toyota Corolla through the front entrance of the building, which also houses the jail, Georgia Bureau of Investigations spokesman John Bankhead said. A statue memorializing fallen soldiers obstructed her path, causing the vehicle to stop.

"Had that memorial not been there, she would've gone right through the door," Bankhead told the AJC.

The vehicle was headed toward the front entrance of the sheriff's office, not the front entrance to the jail, a news release said. There were several staff members and visitors inside the front entrance, but no one was injured.

As Gordon County deputies evacuated the building, Cortes began threatening she had an explosive device in her vehicle, Bankhead said.

Gordon County called in GBI agents, Federal Bureau of Investigation agents and Georgia State Patrol officers to assess  her threat. After taking Cortes into custody, the GBI used a robot to inspect her vehicle for an explosive device, but found no bomb, Bankhead said.

Cortes sustained "minor injuries" and was transported to Gordon Hospital where she is under guard.

Once released from the hospital, Cortes will be taken to jail. She is charged with terroristic threats and acts, interference with government property, and criminal damage to property in the second degree.

The fallen soldiers monument, which cost $5,000 to construct, has been destroyed.

Inmates were placed under lockdown during the incident, but not evacuated.

According to a GBI news release, Cortes has previously been involved in "a number of accidents around Calhoun."

While Bankhead is aware of her intention behind the incident today, he is not releasing any information until Cortes is released form the hospital.

Cortes is a naturalized citizen who was originally came from Guatemala. Where she lives locally has not yet been determined.

Check back to ajc.com for updates.