Woman hit by car as shoplifting suspects flee Oconee Walmart

Authorities said they arrested two shoplifting suspects late Tuesday after they twice hit the same pedestrian with their vehicle while making their escape in the parking lot of the Oconee County Walmart.

The women fled in a white 2001 Lexus, but deputies arrested them later at their apartment homes on Oak Hill Drive off Old Hull Road in Athens.

The driver, Jessica Lalisha Patton, 28, was charged with aggravated assault and shoplifting. Marissa Quadia Putman, 20, was charged with battery and shoplifting. Patton remained in jail Wednesday without bond and Putman remained in jail with bond set at $6,000.

A Walmart loss-prevention officer observed the women shoplifting in the store on Epps Bridge Parkway and confronted them about 7:30 p.m. when they tried to leave, according to a sheriff’s report. Deputies said Putman started hitting the security officer in the head while the older woman verbally abused him.

About that time, an Athens woman and friends arrived at the store and witnessed the commotion outside.

A man tried to take a pocketbook from one suspect while the other screamed, “Don’t touch me. You don’t know me,” the witness recalled Wednesday morning.

The suspects then got inside the car, she said.

“We’re trying to get out of the way and evidently I didn’t get out of the way fast enough,” she said. “(Patton) guns it and hits me in my left knee. I go to the driver’s side and bang on the window and say, ‘Hey, you hit me.’”

The woman said she walked to the front of the car when Patton “gunned” it again and hit her in the same knee, this time knocking her to the pavement.

An ambulance transported the 38-year-old woman to an Athens hospital, but she was released later in the evening with a pair of crutches.

“I’m sore as all get out,” she said.

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