Kitchens sentenced on reduced charges

An Augusta man will spend four years in prison after pleading guilty to charges connected to a three-county police chase last year.

In what Judge Michael Annis called a "generous sentencing recommendation" by the attorneys involved, Gary Wayne Kitchens, 46, pleaded guilty to reduced charges of obstruction of an officer and several traffic violations in Superior Court on Wednesday. He will serve four years and received a five-year probation.

Kitchens nearly struck a Richmond County deputy and a North Augusta Public Safety Officer as he tried to flee from police after the theft of a CD player from Walmart in North Augusta on May 8, 2009.

A Walmart security officer tried to stop Kitchens, but he got into a Ford Ranger and drove across the street to Lowe's, where he almost ran over an officer. Richmond County Deputy Thomas King spotted Kitchens at the Augusta Super Inn on Gordon Highway and when he tried to talk to him, Kitchens shouted obscenities and backed his truck toward the police car, officials said. King had to leap out of the way to avoid being struck.

From there, Kitchens led deputies on a chase -- reaching speeds of 95 mph -- into Girard, Ga. A roadblock by authorities in Sardis halted the pursuit when Kitchens ran off the road and crashed into a peanut field, according to court testimony.

Kitchens has a history of traffic and felony offenses dating back to 1991.