Cop assault suspect arrested in Athens

ATHENS - A man accused of dragging a Winder police officer alongside a stolen vehicle last week was arrested in Athens over the weekend, authorities said, trying to forge checks he found in another stolen car.

James Edward Lawson, 41, was arrested at 9 a.m. Saturday at the Golden Pantry store, 2350 West Broad St. in Athens. The clerk recognized Lawson from a wanted poster and called police while Lawson was in the store.

Lawson, of Athens, showed up at the Golden Pantry on Saturday in a stolen Ford Taurus and tried to pay for a tank of gas with a check he found in the Taurus, Athens-Clarke County police said.

On Nov. 15, Winder police Lt. Frank Farr stopped Lawson in Winder for failing to use a turn signal. Farr called in the van's license plate number and discovered the van was reported stolen. While Farr attempted to arrest him, Lawson drove off and Farr's arm got tangled in the vehicle, authorities said. Farr was dragged about 20 feet before freeing himself.

Barrow County sheriff's deputies chased Lawson through Jackson and into Clarke County. Authorities said Lawson wrecked the stolen car off Jefferson River Road and fled on foot.

Lawson was charged with theft by retaining a motor vehicle, theft by taking, forgery, possession of crack-cocaine and possession of drug paraphernalia. He remains in the Clarke County jail under an $11,000 bond.

Christine Brant Sizemore, 20, of Commerce was arrested in the store with Lawson. She was charged with theft by retaining a motor vehicle, forgery and theft by taking. She remains in the Clarke County jail under a $11,000 bond.

Farr is back on duty after recovering from cuts, bruises and a hyperextended elbow.

"He didn't miss any work," said Lt. Dennis Dorsey, Winder police spokesman. "He's pretty tough."