Hall County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Brian Postma turned around May 7 to find the person he had put in his patrol car for drunk driving was no longer there.
“He had a maybe 20-second, 30-second head start,” Postma testified Wednesday, May 24.
Postma testified as the sole witness at a committal hearing Wednesday for Roy Mugambi Wanjohi, 29, of Gainesville.
Wanjohi faces charges of escape and attempted hijacking a motor vehicle from a May 7 incident on Limestone Parkway in Gainesville.
Postma said he saw a Mercedes C class car going northbound reaching speeds of 80 mph. The deputy said the car made a “very abrupt stop” in the median of Limestone Parkway when trying to initiate a stop, but he directed the car to a nearby parking lot.
After conducting a field sobriety test, Postma said Wanjohi was placed under arrest for DUI of alcohol(less safe) in the back of his patrol car.
Though the legal limit in Georgia for blood alcohol concentration is 0.08, law enforcement can still charge DUI (less safe) if the person is under the influence of drugs or alcohol “to the extent that it is less safe for the person to drive,” according to Georgia law.
The Sheriff’s Office said another of the passengers had an outstanding arrest warrant. Meanwhile, Wanjohi continuously moved back and forth in the rear seats of the patrol car, Postma said.
Postma said he believes the windows on the patrol car were unlocked. Wanjohi was able to put down the windows, reach through the bars on the window and open the door from the outside, the deputy speculated.
“Later, we found him (and) he had one hand free,” Postma said. “The other hand was still secured in handcuffs. He was able to slip out of the handcuffs.”
The Sheriff’s Office put out a be-on-the-lookout and brought in a tracking bloodhound.
At the Chevron at the Limestone/Clarks Bridge Road intersection, Postma said Wanjohi approached a BMW at the gas pump while the car’s owner was inside the gas station.
The man became aware that someone was trying to get into his car.
Postma said the man described Wanjohi as having his hands in his pockets to make it look like he had a gun, saying he wanted to get in the vehicle.
After officers started approaching with their sirens, Wanjohi ran off, Postma said.
Wanjohi was found hiding in a car in a home’s carport a few hundred yards away, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
“He was on the rear passenger floorboard covered with clothes,” Postma said. “The only thing sticking out was his head, and his eyes were closed.”
Postma said there is no in-car audio or video, but there is body camera footage.
Magistrate Court Judge Brian Heck moved the charges on to Superior Court.