Jeffrey Garrison, 32, of Guyton, was arrested after an alleged two-hour crime spree in three counties.
Police say Garrison set three fires, invaded a home where he took a car, and led police on a chase through three counties. While attempting to flee, Garrison tried to run over two police officers. After his arrest, he was charged with three counts of second-degree arson, two counts of aggravated assault on a police officer, burglary and auto theft.
Police say the incident started Jan. 8 before 9 p.m. on the west side of Chatham County, where Garrison set a brush fire next to a mobile home in the 2800 block of Fort Argyle Road. The property owner chased Garrison off the property and the fire was quickly extinguished. It caused only minor damage, but the owner called police and identified the suspect.
Officers of the West Chatham Precinct spent nearly half an hour looking for Garrison before getting a report of a second fire in the 100 block of Hollow Oak Drive. Southside Fire/EMS was called to the scene to extinguish a tool shed that was engulfed in flames.
About an hour later, Garrison invaded a home occupied by a woman and her two small children. He took the woman’s keys and left in her car. The woman, who had hidden in a back bedroom, called police for help. Within seconds of receiving the 911 call, officers arrived and blocked the woman’s driveway. At that point, Garrison tried to run over SCMPD Sgt. Jeffrey Olson and APO Michelle Rayburn as he escaped.
The ensuing chase began in Chatham County but crossed into Bryan and Effingham counties. It ended safely with no injuries or crashes, but Garrison did manage to set the passenger side front seat on fire while fleeing from police.
Effingham County deputies deployed “stop sticks” on Sandhill Road and disabled the car before the fire could ignite. Garrison tried to flee on foot from officers, but was quickly captured. He was taken to a hospital for examination and then booked into the Chatham County jail.
• A dispute over tips escalated to violence on Jan. 10.
Michael and Joseph Taronovich of Savannah were deliberately run down by a car driven by a pizza delivery employee. The incident occurred shortly before 10:30 p.m. in the parking lot of Papa John’s Pizza on Victory Drive and Skidaway Road.
The incident stemmed from a dispute between Michael Taronovich, 29, and the suspect, who was not identified, over the division of tip money. The suspect also struck Michael’s brother, Joseph, 27, who is not an employee of Papa John’s.
Both victims were rushed to Memorial Health University Medical Center, where they were reported in serious but stable condition. Police said the dispute began inside the shop and escalated to more violence in the parking lot.
Joseph was trying to help his brother after seeing the suspect crash into Michael’s car. Both victims ran away from the car, but were unable to escape before being struck themselves. The Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department is searching for the suspect, who left the scene before officers arrived.
• Police were called to the 1100 block of East 40th Street on a report of a purse snatching in progress.
Two officers who were two blocks away responded to the call. As they approached the intersection of 39th Street and Waters Avenue, they saw a man heading east across Waters. He was walking at an unusually quick pace and was distinctly holding his waist area in an attempt to keep an unknown object concealed.
The man fled to the north and jumped a fence between an abandoned building and a house. He was ordered to stop running, but refused. He ran up the steps of a house, opened the door and went inside. As he entered the living room, one of the officers tackled the man and “placed” him on the living room carpet. He was told to put his hands behind his back, but refused.
Instead, the man tried to hide a large, clear plastic bag underneath the living room’s stove/heater with his right hand. He was handcuffed and the officer retrieved the bag, which contained marijuana. While the man was taken to the patrol car, he voluntarily told the officers, “I didn’t have any powder. I only had marijuana.”
The man had puncture wounds on both his right and left hands that was caused from jumping over chain-link fences. EMS responded to the scene, but the punctures continued to bleed, so the man was taken to the hospital to be checked out before being taken to jail. ç
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