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Driver found guilty

Four lawmen hurt in chase

POSTED: February 4, 2009 4:00 a.m.

A Dawsonville man who was shot by authorities following a May 2006 pursuit has been convicted of several charges, including aggravated assault of four Forsyth County Sheriff’s deputies.

  

A Forsyth County Superior Court jury found Michael Brandon McElroy, 30, guilty Thursday night of four counts of aggravated assault on a peace officer and two counts of fleeing and attempting to elude.

  

Sentencing for McElroy, who also was convicted of one count of violation of the Georgia Controlled Substance Act for possession of methamphetamine, is set for Feb. 6.

  

He faces a maximum sentence of 20 years for each aggravated assault charge, five years for each fleeing charge and 15 years for possession.

  

McElroy was shot several times in May 2006 after he fled a roadblock at Jot Em Down and Westbrook roads and was pursued into a pasture on Jot Em Down.

  

According to reports, McElroy nearly hit a deputy checking licenses at the roadblock.

  

Video footage from a patrol car involved in the incident was presented in court. It showed two of the officers were injured when they attempted to remove McElroy from his slowly moving truck in the pasture.

  

As one deputy opened the door, McElroy’s truck accelerated in reverse and knocked down both officers.

  

Authorities then opened fire on McElroy, who was still in the cab of the truck.

  

Lifting his shirt to reveal his scars to the jury, McElroy testified Thursday that he was wounded in the back, chest, arm and face.

  

“I remember hearing shots and feeling a burning sensation,” he said. “That’s when I knew something bad was wrong.”

  

McElroy said he did not intend to harm the deputies.

  

“I ain’t the type of person to hurt anybody, not like that,” he said.

  

McElroy’s family, including a female relative who sobbed as he talked about his wounds, attended the trial.

  

Forsyth County Assistant District Attorney James Dunn took issue with McElroy’s account of what happened.

  

Dunn hammered away at McElroy’s claim that he ran because his license was suspended and he had two weeks of probation left on a previous conviction for driving under the influence.

  

McElroy admitted in court that he had methamphetamine in his pocket. The drug was found while he was being treated at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta.

  

Dunn argued that the meth was the reason McElroy fled. He questioned why the defendant had not run from authorities three times before when driving on a suspended license.

  

He also attacked the notion that McElroy was a victim in the incident.

  

“It’s just absurd to blame (the deputies),” he said. “He could’ve stopped at any time. They did everything to protect him. These officers, everything they did was professional ... when the truck stopped, the shooting stopped.”

  

Dunn said the GBI cleared the deputies involved of any wrongdoing.

  

In his closing argument, McElroy’s attorney, Jim Adam, questioned whether the deputies had to chase his client after he left the roadblock. McElroy, he said, did not intentionally injure them.

  

E-mail Julie Arrington at juliearrington@forsythnews.com.

 

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