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HomeNewsRichmond County Fire Official Who Dragged Body was Arrested in March

Richmond County Fire Official Who Dragged Body was Arrested in March

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Richmond County authorities have identified the fire official who ran over a deceased man after a biker-gang shootout, dragging the body for over 50 feet.

Augusta Fire Shift Commander Gregory Hartshorne, 52, is the same man arrested in March for obstruction in Columbia County.

On Saturday, he was responding to the “mass casualty situation” in East Augusta when he pulled into the parking lot of West Chatham Emergency Lighting on Prep Phillips Drive. Hartshorne crossed through the parking lot when he “failed to see” victim Germayne Farrell lying at the south edge, a sheriff’s report says.

“(He) stated the vehicle hood and fender obscured his vision and he misjudged the location of (Farrell) lying in the parking lot,” the sheriff’s report says.

The incident was captured on a live video feed by a witness, who yelled to other bystanders and a deputy when it happened.  “That man on the ground dead, and the EMS truck just ran him over y’all,” the Facebook user says.

During a Monday press conference on the mass shooting, Sheriff Richard Roundtree called the roll-over incident a freak accident: “He was clearing the area to get his car out so that emergency vehicles can come in and did not see the individual as he was coming off his path.”

The report says Farrell was a victim of a gunshot wounds and had already been determined by Hartshorne to be deceased. The coroner’s office said they had not yet declared him dead, however. Farrell was identified as a 51-year-old man from Daytona Beach, Florida.

“Deputy’s investigation of the scene revealed (Farrell) was lying face down with his head to the north when he was struck by the undercarriage of (Hartshorne),” the report says.

The body was dragged 51 feet, 10 inches from the point of the impact. Lt. Hartshorne was found to have a contributing factor of misjudging clearance in the accident.

The Augusta Fire Department has not commented on the accident or Hartshorne’s employment status after his arrest in March. But Harlem police officials say the Augusta Fire Department requested a copy of the incident report earlier this month.

Hartshorne was arrested March 30 for obstruction in Columbia County during a Harlem officer’s investigation into a domestic incident with his estranged wife.

According to a police report, Harlem police Sgt. Rick Baxter found Hartshorne in a heated argument with his estranged wife outside the police department that evening. She was in the driver’s seat and he was standing next to the opened door.

The officer saw the suspect slap a phone from the woman’s hand. The officer ordered Hartshorne to get away from the van.

“Gregory was immediately argumentative, but after multiple commands complied,” a report says.

The woman told the officer that she was going through a divorce with Hartshorne, but that he had followed her to Harlem, so she pulled into police headquarters for safety.

When the officer asked Hartshorne for his identification, he refused to provide it and became loud, the report says. The officer then tried to detain the suspect, but he “refused to comply” and “put his hands in the air and stepped backwards” to avoid being handcuffed.

It took two officers to grab his hands, escort him to the rear of a patrol car and handcuff him. Hartshorne is described in the report as 5’10” tall and 297 pounds. He was charged with obstruction. His estranged wife said she did not want to press charges for simple battery.

The report lists Hartshorne’s address as Sylvan Lake Drive in Grovetown.

Greg Rickabaugh
Greg Rickabaugh
Greg Rickabaugh is an award-winning crime reporter in the Augusta-Aiken area with experience writing for The Augusta Chronicle, The Augusta Press and serving as publisher of The Jail Report. Rickabaugh is a 1994 graduate of the University of South Carolina and has appeared on several crime documentaries on the Investigation Discovery channel.
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