Police are continuing to search for a man wanted for allegedly running over a Clayton County officer on Wednesday.
According to Clayton County authorities, the incident took place at an abandoned K-Mart distribution center on Old Dixie Highway and Interstate 75 Frontage Road. Major Rick Webster of the Clayton County Police Department said that some men were possibly stealing metal from the center when the officer arrived.
When the responding officer approached a truck possibly connected to the burglary, the vehicle struck the officer, witnesses said.
"The car just went out of control. The next thing you know the man just went crazy and hit one of the police officers – he went a few feet in the air," said Rick Hawthorne, who witnessed the incident.
The officer was life-flighted to Atlanta Medical Center. Clayton County authorities said the officer is in serious condition with head trauma. They said he was talking after the incident.
Webster said that after hitting the officer, the driver kept going through the wood line until authorities believe the bumper got stuck in the weeds.
Police say the suspects then ran from the vehicle. One suspect was later caught, but another escaped.
Police have identified 36-year-old Thomas Paige as that second suspect, who police believe was the driver who hit the officer. FOX 5 has confirmed that Paige was charged earlier in the year in an incident where he allegedly tried to run over several police officers in Clayton County.
A tip led police to evacuate a neighborhood on Cedar Croft Lane around 7 p.m. However, Paige was not found at that home. Officers later said that they believed that the tip was a hoax, according to Major Michael Reynolds of the DeKalb County Police Department.
Charges could be filed against the person who made that apparent false tip, police said.
Paige is wanted on several charges, including aggravated assault on a peace officer, aggravated battery on a peace officer, felony hit and run, and felony obstruction of justice. Authorities consider Paige armed and dangerous.
Anyone with information on Paige's whereabouts is urged to contact the Clayton County Police Department at 770-473-3915.
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