What started as a traffic stop in Southside Columbus ended in a one-vehicle crash on Pickensville Road with the driver under arrest and a 4-year-old passenger uninjured.
According to police, Christopher Jermaine Lewis, 30, of 147 Lee St., Apt. C, in Columbus, was pulled over by an officer near the intersection of Seventh Avenue and Sixth Street South at around 10:15 a.m. Wednesday. Officer James Hanson pulled him over for a seat belt violation.
“He tried to stop the car … and this guy just took off,” Columbus Police Chief Selvain McQueen said.
Lewis took off in his dark green Chevrolet Camaro, McQueen said, and Hanson followed the vehicle and witnessed Lewis running stop signs. McQueen said Hanson turned off his blue lights and followed Lewis’ path.
The next time Hanson saw the Camaro was after it crashed into a fence at the 700 block of Pickensville Road, going around what is known locally as “the S-curve.” The vehicle spun out to almost 180 degrees before hitting a few wooden posts and stopping after hitting the fence.
Lewis hid from officers in woods behind a house and was found 200 yards from the car at about 11 a.m., McQueen said. Officers found a small amount of marijuana in the vehicle.
Lewis was arrested on scene on charges of possession of marijuana and driving with a suspended driver’s license. Lewis also was written “numerous traffic citations,” McQueen said.
A 4 year-old boy, J.J. Bigbee, was with Lewis during the incident but was unharmed. Officers called the child’s mother, Kendria Bigbee, to the scene to get J.J. Kendria Bigbee works in the mailroom at The Dispatch. She requested an ambulance and EMTs to make sure her child did not suffer any injuries.
Lewis, who was released on a $3,700 bond the same day, reached out to The Dispatch in a phone call Thursday night to tell his side of the story.
There was no “high-speed chase,” and he did not run stop signs, Lewis said.
“I just crashed, and I got out of the car and was looking for help, and all the sudden cops were on me,” Lewis said.
Lewis, who referred to himself as the “baby daddy,” said he went around the turn at too fast and lost control of the vehicle.
Lewis said he was wearing a seat belt and had no idea Hanson was behind him initially.
“Anyone who knows me knows you don’t ride in my car without a seat belt on,” he said.
Lewis said he owns the Camaro, the marijuana inside was his. Though police also found a wad of money, Lewis said he does not sell drugs and there is no connection between the marijuana and the wad of bills. According to Lewis, he is with J.J. Bigbee “every day” while Kendria Bigbee is at work.
Lewis’ court date is Feb. 15.