Seatbelt violation traffic stop leads to gun arrest

November 2, 2012 12:13:46 PM

Sarah Fowler - sfowler@cdispatch.com

 

A routine traffic stop led to the arrest of a Columbus man Thursday afternoon. 

 

Thomas James Bonner Jr., was driving on Main Street just after 4 p.m. when he met Mississippi Highway Patrolman Brad Edmondson driving in the opposite direction. Edmondson observed that neither Bonner nor his passenger were wearing their seat belts and attempted to pull over the vehicle. 

 

Bonner turned off Main Street and came to a stop at the corner of College Street and 19th Street North.  

 

When Edmondson approached the blue Mercury Grand Marquis, he noticed an open beer bottle.  

 

Bonner was asked to step out of the vehicle and was administered a breathalyzer test. He registered over the legal limit and was placed under arrest.  

 

While Edmondson was detaining Bonner, an unidentified passenger threw a 9 mm weapon out of the front passenger window.  

 

Edmondson immediately drew his sidearm on the passenger before placing him in handcuffs.  

 

The trooper then called for back-up and officers with both the Columbus Police Department and Lowndes County Sheriff's Department responded to the scene.  

 

Upon searching the vehicle, the officers found another concealed weapon, a Smith & Wesson .357 Magnum revolver.  

 

Bonner claimed ownership of the revolver but denied owning the pistol.  

 

The unidentified passenger told police he purchased the weapon for $30 on the street.  

 

Bonner, who was already in custody for driving under the influence, received an additional charge of possession of a weapon by a convicted felon.  

 

He had a prior felony charge for possession of a controlled substance.

Sarah Fowler covers crime, education and community related events for The Dispatch. Follow her on Twitter @FowlerSarah