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Rome man arrested after high-speed chase ends in crash and foot pursuit in Floyd County

Updated: Oct 11

According to a Floyd County Police Department incident report, on October 3rd, 2020, at around 1:00 AM, Officer Puckett, was performing active patrol on Maple Road near Spruce Street. The officer observed a vehicle traveling south with the reverse lights emitting the white light to the rear of the vehicle. The officer observed that the vehicle was a white Lexus and had a tag light, not functioning. The white Lexus also had a tag displayed which read "TEST DRIVE". The officer activated his emergency equipment (lights and siren) and began attempting to initiate a traffic stop. Officer Puckett reported, "Once my emergency equipment was activated, the Lexus crossed the double yellow line into the northbound lanes of Maple Road while accelerating." The Lexus passed another vehicle that was traveling south and crossed into the northbound lanes. Officer Puckett reported, "When [I] observed this action of the Lexus it became apparent to me that the vehicle was not going to stop." The officer advised that he was now in a vehicle pursuit of the Lexus later identified to be driven by Joseph William Wells Tapp, 27 of Rome, traveling south on Maple Road. The pursuit passed the intersection of Maple Road and Old Lindale Road at 75mph. Tapp went around the curve at the intersection of Maple Road and Teat Street in the northbound lane. Tapp continued southbound and again passed a vehicle after crossing a double yellow line. The pursuit passed "the pig" on North 4th Street at 95mph. Tapp continued south at a high rate of speed while in the northbound lane. The Lexus then made a left turn onto Old Rockmart Road. Tapp crossed both lanes of travel before leaving the south side of the roadway. The Lexus struck the ditch before coming to rest against a concrete culvert. Officer Puckett reported, "[I] observed the driver of the Lexus, a white male, with facial tattoos and wearing a green hooded sweatshirt and blue jeans immediately begin trying to exit the vehicle." Tapp exited the driver's side of the vehicle and proceeded to run south toward the train tracks which cross Park Ave. The officer was now in a foot pursuit of Tapp. He ran south across the railroad tracks and into the parking lot of 9 Park Avenue. While running across that railroad tracks, both Tapp and the officer fell multiple times. Tapp continued to run south through the parking lot toward the south corner of the back building in the lot. The officer upholstered his service weapon as he rounded the corner to check for a possible ambush. The officer quickly re-holstered his weapon and began scanning the area for Tapp. The officer began to follow Tapp's footprints in the dewy grass when Tapp raised his head from behind an air conditioner on the south side of the church. When Tapp saw the officer, he began running again. The officer closed the distance to approximately 15 yards at this time. Tapp rounded another corner, which he admittedly believed was a "cut through" the church. The corridor was closed off. Tapp turned and looked at the officer who was giving him commands to get on the ground. Officer unholstered his department-issued taser and activated it, taking aim at Tapp. Tapp complied with commands and was placed in handcuffs. Once in custody, Tapp advised the officer that he ran due to not having a driver's license. Tapp was transported to the Floyd County Jail after being checked at Floyd Medical Center. It was later discovered that the Lexus had no active registration and no valid insurance coverage. Tapp was charged with fleeing or attempting to elude, obstruction of officers, speeding, reckless driving, failure to maintain a lane, passing in a no-passing zone, driving without a license, driving without insurance, and unregistered vehicle. According to online GDC records, Tapp has a Lengthy criminal record, including meth distribution and theft charges.