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Man gets 20 years for May 2006 chase

Driver shot, deputies hurt in incident

POSTED: February 11, 2009 4:00 a.m.

The family of a Dawsonville man shot by authorities in a May 2006 pursuit that injured four Forsyth County Sheriff’s deputies say they plan to appeal his conviction.

  

Forsyth County Superior Court Judge Jeffrey S. Bagley on Friday sentenced Michael Brandon McElroy to 20 years in prison and 10 on probation.

  

On Jan. 29, a Forsyth County Superior Court jury found McElroy guilty of four counts of aggravated assault on a peace officer and two counts of fleeing and attempting to elude.

  

He also was convicted of one count of possession of methamphetamine.

  

McElroy’s mother, Theresa, said Friday that the sentence was unfair.

  

“They’ve taken my son’s life away from him almost once and now they’re doing it again,” she said. “I feel like this is an injustice and that the system has failed my son.”

  

She called the shooting “overkill.”

  

“Nobody deserves to be shot like you’re a dog,” she said.

  

Her son was wounded 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, he nearly hit a deputy checking licenses at a roadblock.

Deputies reportedly closed in on his pickup truck and used patrol cars in an attempt to block it from leaving the pasture.

  

Video footage from a patrol car involved in the incident was presented in court. It showed two of the officers were injured after one opened the door of the truck in the field.

  

As the door opened, the truck accelerated in reverse, knocking the deputies down.

  

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

  

During the trial, McElroy testified that he was shot about seven times and that doctors were not able to remove all of the bullets from his body.

  

He also maintained he did not intentionally hurt anyone.

  

Attorney Jim Adam called several witnesses to testify on his client’s behalf Friday during the sentencing hearing. McElroy’s parents and co-workers asked Bagley for mercy.

  

Theresa McElroy, who has diabetes and is blind, told Bagley she needs her son around to help her.

  

She also said he still has a bullet in his face, as well as one above his heart and one below it.

  

“Please, my son did wrong by running. He’s admitted to that,” she said. “But please don’t take him away from me any more than he has been.”

  

The defendant sobbed as his mother spoke.

  

Adam also presented Bagley with a letter written by one of his client’s nieces.

  

The judge said a sentence in the letter was persuasive.

  

“If a cop would’ve gotten killed, then this would’ve been a totally different story,” Bagley read.

  

The statement, he said, sums up the family’s testimony that deputies were hurt, not killed. He then questioned whether it takes killing a law enforcement officer to deserve punishment.

  

“That is ludicrous,” Bagley said. “You did a terrible crime. You could’ve killed an officer.”

 

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