Columbia County, GA – A Columbia County man is facing charges after being accused of dragging his 17-year-old granddaughter with his vehicle.
Friday evening, around 6:00 p.m., Columbia County Sheriff’s Office deputies were dispatched to the area of Furys Ferry Road and Inverness Way, in Martinez, in reference to a domestic dispute.
While deputies were on their way to the scene, they received an update from dispatchers that the caller was dragged behind a car.
When the deputies arrived, they found EMS workers treating a 17-year-old girl. Deputies noted that the teen was “emotionally distraught and had trouble talking”.
One of the deputies then talked to two Westlake security guards who witnessed the incident.
The guards’ testimony and video evidence given to deputies revealed that they saw a medium sized passenger car pull up in front of the guard shack and a young white female exit the vehicle. The female was seen going to the rear passenger door to open it but was unable to do so. The female was then seen opening the front passenger door again and reaching inside. At that time, the driver, identified as 77-year-old William Lynn Thackston, began driving off in a “fast manner”.
The female was seen running after the car and was trying to get inside. She was unable to keep up with the car and fell. She held on to the car and was dragged by the ear for approximately fifteen (15) feet. She then let go and rolled on the ground. The vehicle stopped toward the red light and Thackston was seen exiting the ear. At that time the female was reportedly seen walking toward the guard shack.
The guards said they exited the guard shack and walked toward the female. Thackston was heard yelling but the guards could not make out what he was saying.
The guards said Thackston did not attempt to check on the female’s condition. He was then reportedly asked to move his car out of the turn lane. He reportedly entered the vehicle and pulled onto Furys Ferry Road, leaving the scene.
After deputies took statements from the guards, they then talked with the female who told them that Thackston had picked her up from school and they they began arguing about a cell phone she had bought. The female told deputies her mother and grandfather (Thackston) did not want her to have a cell phone. Thackston reportedly told her to give him the cell phone or he was going to make her walk home. She said that was fine and she would call one of her friends.
Thackston then reportedly let the female out and she tried to retrieve her book bag but the passenger rear door was locked. She told deputies that she then opened the front passenger door and was going to get her book
bag when Thackston started driving off. She said she became afraid as soon as Thackston started driving off. She reportedly immediately started running and trying to get in the car because she was afraid of being run over. She said she started to fall and grabbed on to the door frame as best she could. Thackston then reportedly looked at ther and told her “to let go”. She told deputies she was dragged by the vehicle and then let go because she could not hold on any longer. She then walked toward the guard shack and called 911.
The female was transported to a local hospital.
Thackston was contacted at his residence. While deputies were on the way to the residence, they found out Thackston had gone to the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office substation on Ronald Reagan Drive. Thackston talked to a deputy there and told her the Sheriff’s Office would be looking for him. He reportedly told her briefly about the incident but did not mention any injuries to the girl. He did tell the deputy that he saw the girl grab his door frame as he was driving.
Thackston was taken into custody, and told deputies he did not know the girl was injured. He stated he did believe he was going to jail after the incident, though. Thackston also made statements inconsistent with evidence already
gathered and his statement to the deputy at the substation. Thackston stated he began driving off immediately after the girl got out of his car and closed the door. He stated after he did, she ran up to the car and grabbed the door handle. He told her to let go while he was driving and saw her fall. He denied her being dragged by the car. He stated he left the scene because he did not think she was injured.
Thackston was taken to the Columbia County Detention Center and is facing an Aggravated Assault charge.