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Traffic stop leads to weapons arrest

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POSTED: November 24, 2007 5:01 a.m.
Jerome Shawn Bell, 20, was arrested Nov. 4, and is facing multiple charges, including possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, after he reportedly tried to elude police in Ludowici.
According to police officer J.D. Campbell, he was patrolling Cypress Street (Highway 84) at about 3:45 a.m. when a vehicle passed him in the area of Hendrix Street.
Campbell said the vehicle was traveling slightly over the posted speed limit and its tag light was not working. After he turned his patrol car around to follow the vehicle, the officer said he saw the occupants in the car turn around in their seats, look at him and move about in the vehicle. He also noticed the vehicle “making a clear and unmistakable change in the driver’s driving characteristics.”
Campbell then tried to initiate a traffic stop, but the driver sped up and ultimately pulling into the parking lot of the Huddle House.
The officer said the driver attempted to flee, and Campbell maneuvered his patrol car to force the vehicle to stop.
Officer Walt Pelton arrived on the scene and positioned his patrol car adjacent to the automobile to ensure it could not leave.
Both officers reportedly drew their weapons — Pelton to contain the passengers in the automobile and Campbell to apprehend the driver.
Campbell said he smelled marijuana and alcohol when he opened the door on the driver’s side. He then searched the driver, and found no weapon or identification on the subject. The driver then gave his name — Jerome S. Bell. Campbell said he then handcuffed Bell and put him in the rear of his patrol car.
According to Campbell, a .25 caliber handgun — loaded with a round in the chamber — was also found at the rear of Huddle House. It was later learned Bell had tried to throw the weapon on the roof of the restaurant through the sunroof of the car.
After further searching the vehicle, a steak knife and a plastic cup containing alcohol were found.
Statements from Bell indicated he had been drinking at Bo’Maz nightclub in Walthourville as well as smoking marijuana. It also was determined the firearm found in the incident had been reported stolen this past January.
Additionally, Campbell noted in his report Bell and his two passengers alleged the vehicle was traded for crack cocaine.
Bell was charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, concealed weapon in a vehicle, theft by receiving stolen property, fleeing to elude police, DUI drugs and alcohol — by refusal, reckless driving, possession of open container, possession of alcohol by persons under age of 21, driving while license is suspended, failure to maintain lane, speeding and tag light required
The two passengers in the vehicle were released.
 

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