A Brunswick man with a suspended license allegedly stole a truck Saturday in Glynn County, drove it to McIntosh County and then on Sunday zoomed past a Georgia State Patrol trooper on Interstate-95.
It was not just any trooper. The man passed Sgt. John Snipe, commander of the Georgia State Patrol’s Brunswick Post, according to the report.
Snipe pursued the man heading south for 5 miles before bumping the truck with his patrol car in a tactical maneuver that forced the driver to spin out of control at exit 42 in northern Glynn County, the state patrol report said. The chase ended on foot with Snipe running the man down.
Paul Ricks Herrmann III, 26, remained in the McIntosh County jail Monday, charged with, among other things, theft by receiving stolen property, reckless driving, driving while license suspended and DUI/drugs less safe, according to the McIntosh County Sheriff’s Office.
Snipe said Herrmann already was a danger to other motorists when he sped past him at mile marker 47 on I-95 at 2 p.m. Sunday. Herrmann allegedly became even more erratic, prompting Snipe to attempt the “pit” maneuver five minutes later while the two vehicles were in an open stretch of interstate with no other vehicles around.
“He was just going from lane-to-lane, swerving very erratically,” Sgt. Snipe said Monday. “He was just really reckless and I wanted to try and get him stopped before we got farther south into heavy traffic.”
The pickup truck was in the center lane and Snipe was in the inside lane in his marked Dodge Charger patrol car when Snipe performed the maneuver, according to the report. It sent the truck into a counter-clockwise spin for nearly 40 feet before it hit the inside median guardrail.
Unfortunately for David Corbitt, the stolen 2003 Ford F-150 Lariat was totaled in the process. The 57-year Glynn County resident had bought the truck new for more than $31,000. He had maintained it diligently with designs on this being the last work truck he ever owned.
Stolen along with the truck was the 8-foot-by-10-foot trailer hitched to it. Inside that were all the tools of Corbitt’s trade, from precision finishing tools and saws to nail guns and a compressor. The trailer has not been located and Snipe said Herrmann would not discuss it with law enforcement. Like a lot of working men, Corbitt had the truck insured for liability only.
“My whole life was wrapped up in that truck and trailer,” Corbitt said Monday. “I’m just a guy trying to make a living, like everyone else. I’ve had that truck from day one. I was going to keep that truck till I was done working.”
Corbitt had planned to be back to work Monday, putting to use his specialities in windows, doors, cabinetry and crown moldings on a remodel job at a St. Simons Island condominium.
“I’m right in the middle of it,” he said. “It’s still sitting there, waiting on me to get back to it.”
Corbitt said he “religiously” activates the truck’s keypad lock but always left the key in the ignition. But just this once, he said, he did not lock it when he got home from work Friday.
It was still there when he and his wife, Trina Meade, returned from a quiet Friday evening out at about 10 p.m. A neighbor later told Corbitt he noticed it was not in the driveway at about 3 a.m. Saturday. Corbitt discovered the theft when he stepped out for a smoke at 5 a.m., he said.
He reported it to the Glynn County Police, then spent the weekend driving around trying to find it himself. County police contacted him Sunday afternoon with “good news and bad news,” Corbitt said.
“I never expected that to happen, the one time I leave it unlocked, it gets stolen,” he said. “And then to have it totaled in a high-speed chase. I lost everything.”
On Monday a friend of a friend put Corbitt in touch with a good Samaritan who wanted to help. That person may find him a truck and some tools to get back on his feet, Corbitt said. Others also have also reached out to help.
But some of the tools simply cannot be replaced.
Those would be the 12-inch planer, the old Black and Decker sander and some other tools that were handed down to Corbitt from his father, Donald Corbitt.
“That stuff you just can’t replace because it came from my father,” he said. “Some of it was older than me and worked better than anything newer. It’s hard to put a price on that.”
Likewise, Corbitt had spent years building tool shelves and organizing the trailer’s interior. Corbitt even put wheels on the larger, heavier tools, knowing full well he is not getting any younger.
“I just knew that truck was going to last me through my career,” Corbitt said. “But I know that God will take care of us. He already is.”