SNELLVILLE — A woman who allegedly tried to shoplift $90 worth of solvents from a Home Depot store on Friday afternoon was taken into custody after she fought and bit store employees and police officers, then stole a police car and crashed it into a pole.
Snellville Police Chief Roy Whitehead said Demetra Clay — who initially gave police three different names — fought loss prevention employees who tried to take her into custody as she left the store. When Snellville Police officers arrived just before 5 p.m., Whitehead said the woman was handcuffed and seemed as if she was going to calm down.
But after Clay was placed in the car, the cage didn’t click, and she managed to crawl through the window and got in the driver’s seat with the car running.
After she drove the car about 50 feet, it crashed into poles in front of the store on Scenic Highway and pinned one officer’s arm between the patrol car and a concrete curb. The officer was taken to the hospital with a broken arm, Whitehead said.
“She continued to struggle, bit, pounded her head and kicked at everybody,” Whitehead said after two officers worked to restrain her in the car.
Clay also attempted to strangle herself with a seatbelt and claimed to be under the influence of drugs, Whitehead said.
Ultimately, police used a transport van to take her to the Gwinnett jail so she wouldn’t hurt herself, Whitehead said. Police believe someone dropped her off at the store because she didn’t have keys or anything in her purse.
Clay was held in the Gwinnett jail without bond on 12 charges, including 10 felonies, such as aggravated assault, obstruction of a law enforcement officer, interference with government property and theft by taking.
This is the second time in less than a year Clay was arrested on shoplifting and aggravated assault charges. She was last booked in the Gwinnett jail in September on similar charges, but was also in jail on a shoplifting charge in August.