Suspect tosses drugs atop church during foot chase
By DON FLETCHER
News Staff Writer
An Atmore man was arrested on felony drug charges after he jumped from a vehicle, then led police on a brief foot chase that ended with city firefighters helping police get onto a local church’s roof and recover the evidence against him.
The incident occurred December 1, around 10:15 p.m., when an Atmore police officer tried to conduct a traffic stop on a vehicle driven by a person who committed an unspecified traffic violation.
The vehicle operator, who was apparently not charged with any crime and whose name was not released by police, drove into the Walmart parking lot on North Main Street. According to police reports, the vehicle “slowly came to a stop,” and the front seat passenger, later identified as 32-year-old Emmanuel Johnson, “jumped from the vehicle and began running.”
A second officer chased Johnson on foot as the suspect ran across Alabama 21 and into United Pentecostal Church’s parking lot. During the foot pursuit, the officer saw Johnson throw a bookbag and “an object from his mouth” onto the roof of the church, which is almost directly across the highway from where the chase started.
Johnson was taken into custody just after he threw the items onto the roof. City firefighters were called to the scene and used a ladder truck to lift the policemen onto the roof.
Reports show they found the bookbag and a plastic bag with 3.3 grams of a crystal-like substance that field tested positive for meth. Inside the bookbag they found a baggie containing 30 grams of synthetic marijuana (Spice) and about 14 grams of actual marijuana that was separated into several smaller baggies.
Johnson was also in possession of several empty plastic baggies similar in appearance to the ones in which the meth, Spice and marijuana were packaged.
Johnson, who has a prior conviction for second-degree pot possession, is charged with one count each of first-degree possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia, as well as two counts of possession of a controlled substance (meth and Spice).
He was processed into the Escambia County Detention Center, where he remained early Tuesday, December 6.