Posted: 5:22 p.m. Tuesday, May 28, 2013
By Kerry Kavanaugh
A man who went car shopping in Gwinnett County ended up in jail during a test drive.
Jon-Christopher Sowells had just driven a BMW out of Philips Motors on Highway 78 in Snellville when an officer stopped him.
Sowell told Channel 2’s Kerry Kavanaugh he pulled over, unclear about why the Snellville police officer stopped him.
"He said you don't have any tags on the car. I said, ‘No problem, I don't have any tags on this car because it's not my car. The dealer is right there we can get it all clarified,’” Sowells said.
Sowells said he asked the officers to call the dealer three or four times, then the officer asked to see some paperwork on the back seat. Not knowing what the papers were, Sowells refused.
“They asked me to get out of the car. I said 'I don't feel comfortable.' They commenced to open up the car door and they tried to drag me out of the door by my left arm," he said.
At that point, Sowells says, the officer had called for backup.
According to the police report, Sowells pulled away from the officers. Two officers grabbed their Tasers and Sowells got out of the car. He was arrested for obstruction.
“They're treating me like I'm a criminal and I hadn't done anything," he said.
Snellville Police Chief Roy Whitehead emailed Kavanaugh a statement.
"The officer observed a paper on the rear seat that appeared to be of the type dealers use when placing a vehicle for sale. He asked if he could retrieve it and Mr. Sowells refused. Based on his refusal to provide information and his passive and then active resistance, Mr. Sowells was charged with obstruction," the statement said.
Whitehead also noted that because no one answered the phone at the dealership, the officer drove there to verify Sowell's story.
"The dealer comes out to pick the car up and at this point, I'm thinking we can all go home everything is OK now. No it's not OK, I'm going to jail," Sowells said.
Sowells said he has never been arrested before and he plans to fight the charge. He also bought the BMW. Snellville police contend he had opportunities to cooperate with their investigation.