Hotlanta! 2 Hero Cops, 1 Knocked Out Driver, 1 Accused Car Thief on the Run

November 19, 2021Joshua Skovlund
Atlanta police

The Atlanta Police Department released two videos in mid-November, 2021, showing officers in action. The first featured a pair of hero cops saving a man from a vehicle fire. The second allegedly depicted a fleeing car thief trying to evade officers. Composite by Coffee or Die Magazine.

By the time Atlanta Police Department officers Willie Adams and Marcus Todd arrived at the crash, flames were lapping at tree limbs and the driver appeared to be knocked out.

It was Sunday, Nov. 14, and their body-worn cameras captured the horror of a man whose leg was stuck under the steering wheel of a blazing crossover SUV.

“He’s still in there!” bystanders yelled as the Zone 5 cops rushed from their cruisers and started prying open the driver’s side door. But it was too crumpled to budge.

So they turned to bashing in a window, if only to get oxygen to the driver. The fire was growing, but the driver also seemed to start grunting and moaning, indicating he might’ve regained consciousness after inhaling fresh air.

Before a fireball consumed the SUV, the cops gave a door a final tug, and it opened. They pulled the driver out shortly before firefighters showed up to quench the flames. 

Adams sustained minor burns on his hands during the rescue, but both officers were back to work for their next shifts, authorities said.

On Thursday, Atlanta officials used a press conference to shine the limelight on the pair of young officers who officials said exemplified the mental and physical courage needed to make quick decisions that save lives, even if theirs are put in danger.

While a lot of bad cops make headlines, Hotlanta wanted America to meet a couple of heroes.

“At the end of the day, like I tell people all the time, we’re not all the same, and you have good apples, and you have bad apples, and we are definitely two of the good ones,” Todd told reporters. “Anytime you call, we’re coming — no matter what.” 

An initial probe into the accident suggests the driver lost consciousness because of some medical problem. The SUV struck a curb and then continued into a nearby woodline before becoming airborne and crashing through two houses. A tree stopped the vehicle’s momentum.

Police haven’t identified the driver or listed his medical condition.

Atlanta officials released a second video Thursday involving a very different kind of interaction with police.

Captured Wednesday by a camera mounted on the police department’s Phoenix helicopter, the video appears to show a wanted fugitive crashing a stolen Dodge Charger after it outran pursuing police cruisers.

Authorities later identified the driver as Jaheim Arnold of Atlanta. He was wanted for a probation violation tied to a drug-dealing conviction, according to the police.

He was driving the Charger because someone had left the keys inside it. The footage shows him driving on the shoulder of a road and even turning into traffic to evade arrest. He appeared to crash into several other motorists before the car couldn’t run anymore.

He then took off on foot, with the Phoenix aircraft monitoring him from above.

Arnold allegedly tossed a firearm over the side of a bridge and kept jogging before he was surrounded by police in a wooded area. He surrendered without incident.

knocked out
A still image taken from the Atlanta Police Department’s Phoenix helicopter footage allegedly shows a fleeing fugitive tossing a handgun off a bridge Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2021. Screenshot from video courtesy of the Atlanta Police Department.

In his first court appearance by video feed from the Fulton County Jail, Arnold was charged with theft by taking; entering a vehicle for theft; hit and run; fleeing police; reckless driving; possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime; possession of a firearm by a convicted felon; carrying a concealed weapon; second-degree criminal damage to property; and probation violations related to a 2020 marijuana-distribution case.

Arnold remains behind bars without bail. Jail records list him as a 5-foot-8-inch man who weighs 135 pounds, but there’s no indication of his age.

The criminal defense attorney listed on his court paperwork didn’t reply to messages from Coffee or Die Magazine.

Since Jan. 1, 2,657 vehicles have been stolen in Atlanta; 1,741 of them had been left running or were left with the keys or their fobs inside, according to the police.

“We need the public to do better,” officials said in a prepared statement posted on the department’s social media sites. “We remind car owners to never leave keys in their car, and to turn their cars off and lock their doors when exiting vehicles. We will continue to do all we can to hold violators of the law accountable and keep the City of Atlanta safe, but it can work so much better if the community does their part too.”

Read Next: A Sinking Boat Named Desire: Go Inside This Coast Guard Rescue

Joshua Skovlund
Joshua Skovlund

Joshua Skovlund is a former staff writer for Coffee or Die. He covered the 75th anniversary of D-Day in France, multinational military exercises in Germany, and civil unrest during the 2020 riots in Minneapolis. Born and raised in small-town South Dakota, he grew up playing football and soccer before serving as a forward observer in the US Army. After leaving the service, he worked as a personal trainer while earning his paramedic license. After five years as in paramedicine, he transitioned to a career in multimedia journalism. Joshua is married with two children.

More from Coffee or Die Magazine
Coffee Or Die Photo
From the Team Room to Team Room Design: An Operator’s Creative Journey

BRCC partners with Team Room Design for an exclusive T-shirt release!

Coffee Or Die Photo
Get Your Viking On: The Exclusive 30 Sec Out BRCC Shirt Club Design

Thirty Seconds Out has partnered with BRCC for an exclusive shirt design invoking the God of Winter.

Grizzly Forge BRCC shirt
Limited Edition: Grizzly Forge Blades on an Awesome BRCC Shirt

Lucas O'Hara of Grizzly Forge has teamed up with BRCC for a badass, exclusive Shirt Club T-shirt design featuring his most popular knife and tiomahawk.

BRCC Limited Edition Josh Raulerson Blackbeard Skull Shirt
From Naval Service to Creative Canvas: BRCC Veteran Artist Josh Raulerson

Coffee or Die sits down with one of the graphic designers behind Black Rifle Coffee's signature look and vibe.

Medal of Honor is held up.
Biden Will Award Medal of Honor to Army Helicopter Pilot Who Rescued Soldiers in Vietnam Firefight

Biden will award the Medal of Honor to a Vietnam War Army helicopter pilot who risked his life to save a reconnaissance team from almost certain death.

dear jack mandaville
Dear Jack: Which Historic Battle Would You Want To Witness?

Ever wonder how much Jack Mandaville would f*ck sh*t up if he went back in time? The American Revolution didn't even see him coming.

west point time capsule
West Point Time Capsule Yields Centuries-Old Coins

A nearly 200-year-old West Point time capsule that at first appeared to yield little more than dust contains hidden treasure, the US Military Academy said.

  • About Us
  • Privacy Policy
  • Careers
Contact Us
Contact Us
© 2024 Coffee or Die Magazine. All Rights Reserved