Man Arrested in Tuesday Search Identified

The Stephens County Sheriff’s Office has identified a man arrested after a search in Stephens County Tuesday.

Stephens County Sheriff Randy Shirley said the man authorities arrested on Tuesday was 36-year-old Justin Hixson of East Silver Shoals Road.

The sheriff said it started Tuesday when a Sheriff’s Office deputy spotted Hixson driving while patrolling the area of Eastanollee Road and McCurley Road.

“One of my deputies positively spotted a suspect (Hixson) that we had been looking for for Franklin County for several days,” said Shirley. “DNR had initially encountered him and (Hixson) ran away on foot. That was a couple of days ago.”

Shirley said the deputy initiated a traffic stop on Hixson, who then fled into the woods while authorities pursued him.

“We set up a perimeter and called in K-9 bloodhounds to help in tracking him and as a result, we were able to push him even further into a wooded area,” said Shirley.

Shirley said about three hours after the search started, deputies were dispatched to a residence on Sundown Farm Road.

He said a homeowner had reportedly located a male matching Hixson’s description hiding in their barn.

“He approached a female and to his surprise, she was ready for him,” said Shirley. “He got very close to her and at that time, she pulled her weapon and fired several shots in his direction. At that time, he turned around and ran.”

Shirley said deputies and K-9 units from the Department of Corrections then picked Hixson’s trail back up and found him shortly afterwards hiding under an embankment by a creek bed several hundred yards away from the barn.

The sheriff said Hixson faces charges of Obstruction of Law Enforcement Officer and Criminal Trespass right now.

Meanwhile, Franklin County Sheriff Stevie Thomas said Hixson was wanted there on a felony probation violation.

Shirley said his office is still investigating and more charges may be pending.

(MJ Kneiser, WLHR Radio, Lavonia contributed to this report)