A Madison man is clinging to life after he was intentionally struck, police allege, by a minivan near the parking lot of the Old South Liquor Store, Eatonton Road.
According to Madison Police Chief Bill Ashburn, Christopher Dwayne Smith, 28, is on life support with “severe head injuries” at Piedmont Athens Regional Medical Center.
Joel Massey, 69, of Madison, was arrested at the scene on Wednesday, May 5, after authorities allege Massey intentionally struck Smith while driving a green minivan. Ashburn said the impact of the strike caused Smith to violently strike his head against the street.
Ashburn said the two men had a verbal altercation in the parking lot of the liquor store prior to the incident. Smith was struck around 6:45 p.m.
Massey is currently charged with aggravated assault, Ashburn said, but that charge may be elevated to aggravated battery. The police chief also said that if Smith succumbs to his injuries, new charges will be levied against Massey.
Ashburn said police had reviewed the store’s video surveillance before charging Massey. “It appears the victim was walking away and the driver accelerated and struck the victim,” Ashburn said. He said video and witnesses at the scene show that Smith and Massey were arguing while Massey sat in the van. Ashburn said the nature of that argument is part of the investigation.
This marks the second time Massey has been charged with striking someone in the same liquor store parking lot. According to Morgan County Superior Court records, Massey was charged with aggravated assault on Feb. 11, 2009, after he allegedly intentionally struck a woman in the parking lot. An arrest warrant taken by the Madison Police Department at the time of the 2009 arrest alleges that when the female victim “turned and walked away to leave, the accused (Massey) then backed up and started to leave when he struck (the victim). (The victim) kept walking away when (Massey) drove the car toward (the victim) striking her an knocking her to the ground, then ran over her leg.”
However, that charge was eventually dismissed by then Assistant District Attorney Alison Burleson in June, 2010. According to court documents regarding the dismissal, the court noted that the “victim does not wish to prosecute and would testify for the defendant. Without cooperation of the victim we cannot proceed,” the document states.