Three men accused of eluding cops sit in jail

LAWRENCEVILLE - Three of four men accused of leading police on a high-speed chase on Interstate 85 last week are in jail awaiting a probable cause hearing.

The hearing in Gwinnett County Magistrate Court is for two of the suspects involved, one of whom is a career criminal, according to a police report. Richard Erroll Berry, 29, is wanted in six jurisdictions in at least two other states for fraud or forgery.

Berry was allegedly driving a stolen black 2002 BMW 325I on I-85 north at 5:45 p.m. Friday when a police officer attempted to stop the car for having a stolen tag. As the BMW began to accelerate and move toward the right shoulder, a back-seat passenger later identified as Frank Bernard Mathis pointed a gun through the rear window at the police officer, a police report said.

Berry reportedly began weaving through the heavy rush-hour traffic from shoulder to shoulder in an attempt to escape. He then rode along the right shoulder emergency for several miles before exiting toward Pleasant Hill Road, the report said.

As the BMW continued down the exit ramp, the driver allegedly swerved into the police patrol car in an attempt to run it into the wall. The BMW spun and struck the wall, causing both cars to come to a stop.

The driver and the armed passenger jumped out of the BMW and hopped over the retainer wall heading toward Venture Mall. Two other occupants of the car, Calvin Decarous Chambers, 26, and Antoine Maurice Willis, 19, reportedly attempted to run, but were captured by authorities at the scene.

Minutes later, a security officer at Venture Mall observed Berry going into a men's room to discard a jacket he was wearing. The security officer notified police, who sealed off the mall until Berry was caught.

Mathis was also arrested shortly after he allegedly attempted to flee. A concerned citizen spotted Mathis taking his shirt off while walking through the Sam's Club parking lot and called 911, the police report said. A check of the BMW's registration revealed it had been stolen from a business in Gwinnett County in February.

Inside the car, police found $415 in cash on the floorboard, four checkbooks which appeared to be fake, two phony Georgia driver's licenses, and two driver's licenses belonging to other people.

Background checks on the four men revealed three of them were wanted fugitives.

Berry was wanted on multiple fraud and forgery charges in North Carolina and Alabama. He is in jail on charges of possessing a stolen vehicle, fleeing from police, obstructing law enforcement, and a host of traffic violations.

Chambers was wanted out of Bartow County on charges of lying to police and possessing tools for the commission of a crime, and wanted out of Columbus on forgery charges. He was charged with obstruction, misdemeanor marijuana possession and possessing a fake ID. He is being held at the Gwinnett County Detention Center.

Mathis was wanted as an escape risk from Columbus on forgery charges and by authorities in Henry County on charges of probation violation. He is in jail charged with giving a false name and date of birth to police, possessing a fake ID and obstructing law enforcement.

Willis was charged with obstructing law enforcement and he bonded out of jail Saturday.