Joseph Melton

MILLEDGEVILLE, Ga. — A Milledgeville motorcyclist who attempted to elude a local deputy sheriff while speeding Saturday morning on Ga. Route 49 was apprehended in neighboring Jones County.

The man was arrested and charged with eight different traffic-related offenses.

The chase began shortly before noon and reached speeds of more than 80 mph, according to an incident report filed by Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Sgt. Lee Kitchens.

The man was identified as Joseph Dennard Melton, 43, of 133 Merry Drive.

Melton was charged with fleeing or attempting to elude a law enforcement officer, speeding 88 mph in a 55 mph speed zone, driving an unregistered vehicle, passing in a no passing zone, operating a motor vehicle without mirrors, operating a motor vehicle while wearing headphones, canceled registration and driving without a license, Class CM. 

Kitchens said in his report that he was sitting stationary in his patrol car on the 700 block of Ga. Route 49 at 11:52 a.m. when the driver of a Suzuki GSX-R 750 went past him at what was thought to be a high-rate of speed. The deputy said he later checked the speed of the motorcyclist using his in-car radar.

The supervisor deputy said he saw the motorcyclist look back at him twice, but he continued southbound at a high-rate of speed.

Kitchens said he waited for traffic to clear so he could pull out into the highway and pursue the fleeing motorcyclist. The deputy said he turned on his emergency blue lights and siren and immediately radioed a dispatcher that he was attempting to catch up with a speeding motorcycle.

The deputy was able to catch up with the suspect at Salem Church Road, but the driver accelerated and then passed a car in a no passing zone. The deputy said he then passed a car in front of him and continued the pursuit.

Kitchens said he later got close to the motorcyclist and instructed him via his in-car public address system to pull over and not continue the pursuit over a traffic citation.

But the motorcyclist didn’t cooperate, the deputy said.

Instead, the motorcyclist continued trying to flee toward the Jones County line.

Kitchens said he told his dispatcher to alert the Jones County Sheriff’s Office of the situation as the chase headed toward the county line.

About a mile into the neighboring county, near Bowen Hill Road, the motorcyclist decided to pull over.

Kitchens said he stepped out of his patrol car, removed his handgun from its holster and took cover behind his car door.

“I told the driver to put his hands up and to keep them up,” Kitchens said in his report.

The motorcyclist later removed his helmet, his earbuds or headphones, and placed his hands in the air.

The deputy said he had to repeat the instructions several times before the motorcyclist complied.

Just as the motorcyclist was cooperating with Kitchens, the deputy received backup assistance at the scene from Deputy Lt. Lee Williamson.

Kichens said he later approached the suspect with his gun still drawn, and commanded the suspect to place his hands behind his back.

The driver complied and was taken into custody without any further incident.

While in the custody of deputies, the suspect was searched for weapons, but none were discovered.

The motorcyclist was positively identified by his driver’s license, Kitchens said.

Melton later was placed in the backseat of a patrol car and taken to the Baldwin County Law Enforcement Center where he was jailed.



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