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Suspect held after chase, manhunt

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

A Dawsonville man with an extensive criminal history is being held without bond following a chase and brief manhunt last week.


Rodney Gerald Downs, 38, was taken into custody Nov. 3 after he fled from officers called to a disagreement between him and a female acquaintance at a home near Dawson Forest Road.


Downs faces two counts of aggravated assault on an officer, a felony, in addition to more than 20 traffic violations stemming from the chase near the North Georgia Premium Outlets.


The aggravated assault charges were filed after Downs tried to hit a patrol car driven by Sheriff’s Sgt. Shane Henson during the chase.


Deputies pursued Downs for several miles between Ga. 400 and Dawson Forest Road before he reportedly pulled into oncoming traffic near Black’s Mill Elementary School.


The school and two nearby child care centers were placed on alert, according to Dawson County Sheriff’s Lt. Tony Wooten.


Downs then ditched the 1999 Pontiac Grand Am he was driving and ran away, eluding officers for more than an hour.


More than two dozen officers from the sheriff’s office, including the K9 Unit, and the Georgia State Patrol searched the area.


Downs was found in an undeveloped part of Riley Place subdivision off Dawson Forest Road.


Officers performed field sobriety tests on the suspect and charged him with driving under the influence.


According to the Georgia Department of Corrections, Downs spent four months in state custody in 1994 on theft and forgery charges from Gwinnett County.


He later served three years for theft and drug charges from Gwinnett and Hall counties.


He is being held at the Dawson County Detention Center.



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