By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Man captured after fleeing probation office
Probation officer, attempting to stop suspect, jumped in the vehicle as well
Michael John Barnier
Michael John Barnier Jr.

Hall County Sheriff’s Office deputies apprehended a man Tuesday night who fled from the probation office at Aviation Boulevard in Gainesville with a probation officer in his vehicle.

Michael John Barnier Jr., 39, was at the office for a scheduled visit when he was told he had a felony warrant out of Tennessee for theft, said Sgt. Stephen Wilbanks, spokesman for the sheriff’s office.

He ran from the office at about 3:50 p.m. and jumped in his pickup truck as a probation officer chased him, Wilbanks said. The officer attempted to stop Barnier before he also jumped into the truck.

The truck headed down Interstate 985 at a “very high rate of speed,” Wilbanks said. The driver got off at the Spout Springs Road exit and ran after stopping the vehicle at a barbecue restaurant in Flowery Branch.

“He was actually never pursued because the deputies that were all responding to the area were unable to get caught up to the area that he was passing through,” Wilbanks said.

Police dogs and a Georgia State Patrol helicopter were used in the search. Barnier was located by the dogs in the area of Wade Orr Road and I-985 at about 7:35 p.m.

He faces charges of aggravated assault on a peace officer, related to the incident with the probation officer, and two counts of misdemeanor obstruction. The probation officer was uninjured in the chase.

Wilbanks said Barnier had pervious arrests in Hall County including some for probation warrants, warrants from other jurisdictions, possession of marijuana and family violence charges.

He was booked into the Hall County Jail.

Regional events