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Soldier faces numerous charges in high-speed chase

Suspended deputies identified

POSTED: May 13, 2009 9:33 a.m.

The Fort Stewart soldier who allegedly led military, Liberty County and McIntosh police on a high speed chase south on I-95 Saturday afternoon has been identified as Spc. James Justin Williams, an electronics technician with the 3rd Sustainment Brigade.
After initiating the chase, which according to Liberty County Chief Deputy Keith Moran, started right outside the gates on Old Sunbury Road, Williams is now facing possible charges from multiple counties as well as punishment from post officials.
Moran said Williams is facing three charges from the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office: reckless driving, fleeing and attempting to elude an officer, and speeding.
“Our deputies pulled off the chase as soon as he crossed lines,” he said. “They did it right by the book.”
The Coastal Courier made several attempts to obtain a list of charges from the McIntosh County Sheriff’s Department, where the chase eventually ended when four squad cars in the chase crashed. McIntosh County did not respond.
Traffic on I-95 came to a standstill for several hours.
The accident is currently under investigation.
A Georgia State Patrol report identified the four deputies as Stephen Patton, Nicholaus Roundtree, Christopher Lynn and Wilbert Cope. An Associated Press story said Sheriff Stephen Jessup suspended them without pay for not following department proceedures.
Fort Stewart commander Maj.Gen. Tony Cucolo called the incident “unacceptable behavior.”
“When one person does this, it casts dirt on everyone, so that’s incredibly frustrating,” he said.
Fort Stewart officials are waiting for Williams’ trial before they serve a punishment.
“We’re cooperating fully with all the counties involved while keeping an eye on ensuring due process,” Cucolo said. “Protecting the life, health and safety of the civilian population is as much of a concern of ours as it is for our own soldiers and families.”
Williams was last deployed to Operation Iraqi Freedom from August 2008 to January. Cucolo said officials on Fort Stewart will be addressing the situation by talking with other soldiers.
“I’ve asked commanders to overreact and to remind their soldiers what one incident can do to the rest,” he said.
Frenchi Jones and Lewis Levine contributed to this story.

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