LaGrange Police have arrested a local man on multiple felony charges after he allegedly ran a stop sign and was found to be both intoxicated and on drugs.
Monday night about 10:27 p.m., officers with the La-Grange Police Department were patrolling the area of Mitchell Avenue at Banks Street, when police observed a black Mercedes CLK run the posted stop sign at the intersection.
Police then initiated a traffic stop on the Mercedes, activating blue lights, and the vehicle appeared to speed up and abruptly turn into a private driveway. Thinking the driver was about to flee on foot, officers quickly hopped out and approached the vehicle, but before they could do so, the driver was already yelling, “I just bought this vehicle five minutes ago and you have already stopped me.’
Officers made contact with the driver and advised he was pulled over because he had run a stop sign and there was a head light out on the vehicle.
The driver, Carlton Bruce Cooke Jr., stated that he had just purchased the vehicle from a business on Hogansville Road, which made officers very suspicious due to several issues with the vehicle. According to police, the inside of the vehicle was in shambles. The center console was completely dismantled and the gear shift appeared to be broken.
Cooke insisted he had just bought the vehicle, but the vehicle had no drive out tag and it was dirty, appearing to have been riding on a dirt road for days.
When asked for his driver’s license, Cooke stated he didn’t have one and that he just got out of jail recently for not having one. He then admitted his license was suspended. Police then confirmed through 911 that Cooke’s license was suspended six times for various violations.
While investigating the stop, police observed an odor of alcohol coming from the vehicle and the more they spoke to Cooke, the more they believed he was impaired. Cooke denied any alcohol being in the vehicle, but stated he had consumed two beers several hours prior.
As officers were about to talk about his license, Cooke began yelling and screaming about the man who had supposedly sold him the vehicle coming to the scene to take the vehicle. He then begged officers to allow his passenger to drive the vehicle from the scene.
Officers say Cooke’s attention was all over the place, which made officers more and more suspicious that he was not only impaired by alcohol, but also by illegal drugs. Cooke then voluntarily submitted to a few roadside sobriety tests, which according to officers not only indicated he was impaired, but also likely on some sort of narcotic. Cooke had previously stated that he only drank two beers several hours prior, but didn’t believe this to be true.
In order to confirm their suspicions, officers asked Cooke to take a portable breath test, but he refused the test.
At this point, officers had already ran the tag on the vehicle and learned it was reported stolen off of another vehicle in Carroll County, Georgia.
Cooke was then placed under arrest for Driving Under the Influence and officers began to search the vehicle for evidence of alcohol.
During the search, police did not find any evidence of alcohol, but did find a loaded Lorcin 9mm pistol in the glove compartment. When officers brought out the firearm, Cooke began yelling that it was not his and it must have been in the vehicle prior to him purchasing it. He then began cursing the man who supposedly sold him the vehicle. Police say, seconds later, he then began attempting to tell the female passenger that she needed to claim the firearm so he would not get in trouble. This went on for several minutes, with him telling her that she wouldn’t get in trouble and that she needed to help him.
Officers believe that since Cooke’s story quickly went from the gun being the previous owner’s, to being the passengers, that he knew that he was a convicted felon and that if she didn’t claim it, he was going to be charged.
Cooke was arrested and transported to the Troup County Sheriff’s Office where he refused to take a blood test. Cooke was then held at the jail while officers secured a signed warrant from Judge Jeannette Little for a blood sample from the suspect. Officers returned and began transporting Cooke to the West Georgia Medical Center in order to obtain the blood sample.
While explaining the process to Cooke and that a warrant had been obtained for his blood, Cooke began to tell officers that they better get several people to hold him down because he wasn’t giving a sample. When advised that they had a judge’s order for a blood sample, he continued to insist the hospital was not taking his blood. Officers then informed him that he didn’t need to cause a scene in the medical facility because innocent sick people were there. He then repeated that police better bring a lot of people to get his blood.
Due to this threat, officers decided it was not worth medical staff getting injured due to the games he seemed to be playing. Officers advised Cooke that he would be charged with Obstruction of Officers and he could explain to the judge why he didn’t want to comply with her order.
As a result, Cooke, age 31, was taken back to the Troup County Jail and charged with Driving Under the Influence Less Safe, Stop Sign Violation, Seat Belt Violation, No Proof of Insurance, Tag Violation, Felony Driving while License Suspended, Obstruction of Officers, and Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon.
Tommy Murphy Staff Writer