Originally created 11/06/02

Police arrest frantic woman after accident



An Augusta woman allegedly attacked a police officer with a campaign sign after fleeing the scene of a four-car accident on Alexander Drive that injured two people Tuesday.

Crystal Whitley, 19, the driver of a Pontiac Sunfire, faces several traffic violations and felony charges for incidents that included creating a disturbance inside a McDonald's restaurant on Washington Road, said Richmond County sheriff's Deputy Brandon Reeves.

Ms. Whitley was arrested near the restaurant after witnesses said she entered the building "like a raging animal," sheriff's Deputy Charles Feutral said.

Deputy Reeves said the woman caused an accident about 4:30 p.m. when she left the southbound lane of Alexander Drive and hit an oncoming Oldsmobile. The impact caused the Oldsmobile to back into a Honda Civic also traveling north, he said.

The Sunfire's rear passenger door then struck the rear of a Honda Prelude waiting to turn in the southbound lane, Deputy Reeves said. Ms. Whitley ran to the McDonald's restaurant and started pushing the cash registers to the end of the counter, Deputy Feutral said.

After Ms. Whitley left the restaurant, she grabbed a campaign sign from the side of the road and began stabbing a door on the deputy's car with the sign's wooden stake, the deputy said.

The woman then tried to attack the officer, who sprayed her with pepper spray and wrestled her to the ground, he said.

Ms. Whitley - handcuffed in the back of the vehicle - then kicked out portions of the protective glass inside the patrol car, Deputy Feutral said.

The woman screamed frantically for a lawyer as officers tried to clean up the accident scene. Both northbound lanes and one southbound lane were closed for almost two hours as wrecker crews cleaned up the road.

Ms. Whitley suffered only minor bumps and bruises, but she was taken to Medical College of Georgia Hospital for blood tests, Deputy Reeves said.

The driver of the Oldsmobile - Yvonne Miller, 77, of Augusta - was treated at University Hospital and released.

The driver of the Civic, Leroy Inglett, 55, of Augusta, and the driver of the Prelude, Brandon Duncan, 23, of North Augusta, were not injured.

Ms. Whitley was charged Tuesday with felony obstruction of a law enforcement officer and interference with government property.

Reach Albert Ross at (706) 823-3339 or albert.ross@augustachronicle.com.