Fund set for hero trucker shot 7 times in Oglethorpe man’s deadly rampage

A fund has been established to assist a man recently shot seven times while resisting the gunman who hijacked his truck during a deadly rampage in Oglethorpe County.

After undergoing two surgeries, 58-year-old Paul Donald “Don” Davis is home and recovering from the injuries he suffered when shot while gunman Ryan Edgar Arnold held him hostage on Aug. 24.

It currently is unknown whether the lifelong truck driver ever will return to work. One of Davis’ hands was badly mangled when two bullets tore through it; two fingers were amputated in one of the surgeries. Due to severe nerve damage, doctors won’t know for another year whether Davis will ever regain use of that hand. At least one more surgery is on the horizon.

Kathy Davis, an Athens-Clarke County Municipal Court administrative assistant, has taken a leave of absence to provide 24-hour care for her husband, who is also attended by a visiting nurse.

To assist the Davis family with their rapidly mounting medical bills, family friend Debbie Cofer this week established an account for the couple with the crowdfunding website GoFundMe,com.

With a goal of raising $70,000, the website noted on Friday afternoon that about $2,200 had been raised.

Cofer posted a notice on the website

thanking people who were quick to open their hearts and wallets.

“Within a matter of hours we had collectively gathered enough money that I can arrange for Don (and) Kathy to take ownership of the account tomorrow,” Cofer said. “They will be able to start withdrawing whatever they need immediately, which is what I hoped for, but beyond what I dreamed.”

Davis started Don Davis Trucking 34 years ago and runs the business from his home in a rural area just outside the small community of Ila in rural Madison County.

On the morning of Aug. 24, he was in a remote logging site in Oglethorpe County, his 18-wheeler fully loaded with timber to be hauled to an area saw mill. Arnold then appeared out of woods and at gunpoint ordered Davis to get in his truck and drive. The trucker didn’t yet know that Arnold had already shot his former girlfriend and threw 23-year-old Haley Hill from a speeding pickup truck as Arnold engaged pursuing police in a rolling gun battle.

Hill’s unborn child died upon delivery at the hospital, where Hill died three days later.

Meanwhile, Arnold was trapped in the cab of his truck with the gunman.

According to family members, Arnold shot Davis in the leg when he refused to comply with the gunman’s demand that he crash the tractor-trailer through a roadblock of police cars set up on a dirt access road at the logging site. Arnold then mashed the gas pedal to the floor as the truck bore down on the police cars.

“Don put his foot under the pedal and was trying to pull it up” to decrease the truck’s speed, Kathy Davis said.

The rig did plow through the police vehicles; however, and was fired upon by at least two deputies and a state trooper, according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, wounding Arnold and further injuring Davis.

The agent in charge of the GBI’s Athens regional office, Mike Ayers, called Davis “a very brave man” for resisting and trying to thwart Arnold.

Kathy Davis said her husband’s actions prevented additional loss of life that day.

Anyone who wishes to assist the Davises may do so at http://www.gofundme.com/7v3a4fwc.

Follow Criminal Justice reporter Joe Johnson at www.facebook.com/JoeJohnsonABH or www.twitter.com/JoeJohnsonABH.