“A Gainesville man remains in the Hall County Jail following his arrest last week for fleeing a traffic stop in the northeastern part of the county.
On the afternoon of Thursday, Aug. 31, a Hall County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) deputy attempted to stop a male driver, later identified as Joseph Russell Harris, 34, after he observed Harris attempting to secure his seatbelt as he was operating his vehicle on Clarks Bridge Road in the area of Honeysuckle Drive. The deputy also determined Harris’ tag was expired. Initially, Harris stopped his vehicle, but as the deputy exited his patrol vehicle to talk with him, Harris sped away.
The deputy followed Harris to a residence on Autry Spur. Harris exited his vehicle and ran. The deputy called for backup to search for Harris. The deputy also conducted a search of Harris’ vehicle after smelling the odor of marijuana coming from the car. During the search, the deputy found two weapons and a plastic bag filled with a crystal-like substance. Drug investigators also responded.
During the investigation, HCSO Warrant Service Unit deputies located Harris with use of a drone. He was arrested without incident. HCSO drug investigators confirmed the substance in the plastic bag was methamphetamine (just over 1 lb. with a street value of approximately $34,000), while one of the weapons (a handgun) was determined to be stolen.
At the time of Harris’ arrest on Aug. 31, he was charged with the following misdemeanor offenses:
· Safety belt violation
· Operating a vehicle with an expired tag
· Driving while license suspended
· Obstruction of an officer
· Fleeing or attempting to elude
· Hold for another county
On Saturday, Sept. 2, additional charges were filed in the case:
· Trafficking in illegal drugs (felony)
· Possession of a firearm by a convicted felon (2 felony counts)
· Theft by receiving (misdemeanor; this charge relates to the stolen weapon)
· Obstruction of an officer (misdemeanor; this incident occurred at the jail when Harris refused commands to show his hands to a jail officer)”