Harry Randall Withers Jr. thought Ebola could help him get away from the police and prompt an Ebola scare in Cobb County jail. The 35 year old Suffolk man was arrested in Cobb County, Georgia at the beginning of this month for a DUI related offense which included misdemeanor charges of driving under the influence and failure to maintain himself in his lane.
When booked, officers at the Cobb County Sheriff’s Office noticed that Withers displayed symptoms of the flu, and nausea and vomiting. Withers told the jail paramedic that he left the US on Sept. 10th to visit a friend in Kenya. He told the medical staff that he had traveled to Nigeria via Monrovia, Liberia, and on to Belgium, in the past few weeks.
Withers’ statement about his travels was enough to cause a lockdown of Cobb County jail. Lab tests came back negative, confirming that he had not contracted the Ebola virus. Withers has now been slapped not only with DUI charges but indicted on three felony counts of making false statements to the police. After Cobb County jail was put on a temporary lockdown, Withers was taken to WellStar Kennestone Hospital. He was isolated and tested once more while the local and state health officials were alerted.
Lies and More Lies
Metro Atlanta was the focus of media attention as investigators began to dig further into Withers’ actions. He gave false statements to an investigator claiming that he had a US passport and could prove his travel to Kenya. He claimed to have stayed overnight in Nigeria although he was not able to identify which city or, and a layover in Liberia as well. He even told investigators that he spent three and a half hours at the Liberia airport and had been out for a smoke break.
Harry Randall Withers Jr. likes to tell stories.
However, investigations revealed he hadn’t traveled out of the US since 2005. Withers’ DUI Atlanta attorney will now have a tougher job dealing with his client’s actions. According to reports, Withers awaits arraignment in Suffolk on a misdemeanor assault charge. In June, he was involved in a brawl in Kelly’s Tavern. He was released on his own recognizance.
Frightening the Public
According to Cobb County District Attorney, the charges against Withers are serous since his claims of having Ebola and becoming a human dirty bomb caused fear among the people in Cobb County. The attorney said that false statements that cause chaos will not be tolerated. A spokeswoman from the district attorney’s office said that members of the grand jury gave out indictments when there was sufficient evidence to warrant a trial.
Some people say Withers may be mentally disturbed although that will be up to his criminal defense to prove, if necessary. However, some feel that his incarceration is based on hysteria, not harm. They say it is not Withers fault for the way the prison system overreacted. How do you overreact in regards to a deadly contagion?
An Attention Seeker?
He wasn’t guilty of knocking out a prison guard, foul mouthing the authorities, or calling in a bomb threat like some people believe he is. If Withers isn’t mentally unstable, he could just be someone who has got busted for saying some crazy stuff, and caught in a system that overreacted when he said he was feeling sick. But Withers telling all these lies cannot be defended. And obviously he is paying attention to current events and does not care about the financial cost he has put on the people in the Atlanta area!