An Atlanta woman driving a U-Haul truck was arrested for a suspended license and obstruction and her passenger went to jail for marijuana and obstruction after they were stopped on I-75 south near Johnstonville Road for impeding traffic on Oct. 18. According to the sheriff’s incident report, Techelina Thomas, 27, of Atlanta was stopped around 3:39 p.m. on Oct. 18 by deputy Judy Mercer who could smell marijuana coming from the truck as she spoke with Thomas. Dispatch said her license was suspended indefinitely in Florida.
Asked if she knew why her license was suspended Thomas answered she didn’t know why it mattered if she had a good driver’s license. Mercer then asked the passenger, Shalicia Lashawn Todd, 31, of Atlanta for her license which she reluctantly provided.
The deputy told Thomas to step out of the vehicle due to her having a suspended license and Thomas continued to argue that she had a valid license. She was handcuffed and Todd was asked to exit to search the vehicle. Thomas and Todd both argued that the whole incident was wrong, because Mercer said that she pulled them over for impeding traffic, not marijuana.
Todd called someone on the phone and was getting loud. She was holding the cell phone up as if she were recording and continued yelling at Mercer and Cpl. Jacob Justice. Mercer asked Thomas to walk with her to the patrol car, but she refused by saying she had to stay and make sure Todd was OK. Mercer escorted Thomas to the patrol car, opened the door and asked her to get inside. She refused, then sat down with her body pointing outward and her feet still outside the car.
Mercer asked Thomas a couple of times to move over and put her feet in the patrol car. She again refused and the deputy pushed Thomas’ body, by her shoulders into the seat, picked up her feet, put them in the vehicle and shut the door.
Todd was still in the U-Haul refusing to get out, holding the recording phone up and said she was not getting out of the U-Haul and that she knew her rights. Todd said that she did not give deputies permission to search the vehicle and they told her that they did not need her permission due to the odor of marijuana. She was told she could continue to record and that the patrol car camera was recording as well. Cpl. Justice told Todd to get out of the vehicle and she locked the door. Finally, Todd exited the vehicle while talking to someone on the phone.
A bag of marijuana was found in a camouflage bag on the passenger side of the middle console area. The bag had clothing and shoes in it that belonged to Todd and she was arrested. Todd’s mother arrived and parked behind the patrol car. Mercer told her of charges against the women and the address of the jail.
Thomas was cited for driving on a suspended license, obstruction and impeding traffic. Todd was cited for possession of marijuana less than one ounce and obstruction.