Police find suspected hit-and-run driver hiding under Hardaway - WFXG FOX54 Augusta - Your News One Hour Earlier

Police find suspected hit-and-run driver hiding under Hardaway High School

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Valdimar Harris (source: Muscogee County Jail) Valdimar Harris (source: Muscogee County Jail)

Columbus police officers on patrol attempted to pull over a driver for a traffic violation, and the situation quickly escalated.

It happened at about 12:45 p.m. Sunday near Hardaway High School.

Police said the driver attempted to flee, but before the officer had time to engage in a pursuit, the driver had already crashed into a parked car on Cambridge Dr. causing severe damage to both cars.

According to witnesses, the fleeing suspect then put his vehicle into reverse and attempted to leave the scene of that accident, when his car quit on him shortly afterward.  He bailed out of the vehicle while it was rolling down the hill on Cambridge Dr. and it stopped in a resident's front yard.

Neighbors say the driver jumped fences while running towards Clubview Dr. and attempted to hide in the backyards of nearby houses.

One resident, fearing that he encountered a burglar, fired several warning shots into the air to scare the man away.  No one was hit by the bullets, but calls from neighbors to 911 reflected the new developments.  Based on the amount of blood on the fleeing suspect's shirt, neighbors told emergency dispatchers the man appeared to have been shot. 

Police later discovered the man's injuries were from the car accident only.  One witness said the man had a large gash across his forehead.

"He runs by my car. He's been in my backyard. So he came down the side of the house, and he's dripping - covered in blood. He could not keep his shoes on, they fell off and then he went up underneath the trailer," said Linda McCormick.

After a search, police found the man underneath the portable classrooms at Hardaway High School.  Neighbors watched him remove the sheet metal skirting from near the base of the trailers and then crawl inside. Their tips helped lead police to his hiding place.

In addition to reckless driving and fleeing the scene of an accident, the suspect, Valdimar Harris, is charged with no state tag, no insurance, and no driver's license. He was taken to jail after briefly being treated at the hospital.

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