Moulton man charged with assaulting police at Lawrence Jail


A Moulton man faces a felony assault charge after a brief car chase in Moulton and an altercation with law enforcement at the Lawrence County Jail on Saturday, according to a report from the Moulton Police Department.

Craig Morgan Austin, 35, of 493 County Road 233, is charged with second degree assault on a police officer—a Class C felony in Alabama, and several misdemeanor charges including driving under the influence, attempting to elude police, reckless driving, driving with a suspended license, operating a vehicle without insurance, operating a vehicle with an expired tag, and three counts of running a red light or stop sign. 

The arrest comes after Moulton Police officer Jon Zech observed Austin in a black Ford Ranger driving recklessly on Court Street in downtown Moulton. According to the report, Austin passed Zech’s patrol car in a no-passing zone and then ran a red light. 

“Officer Zech attempted a traffic stop on the vehicle, however, the truck accelerated, and the driver refused to pull over.  Another Moulton Police Officer, Jake Burkett, was in the area and immediately joined the pursuit,” the report states. 

The chase ended at the Alabama 157 and Court Street intersection with Moulton officer Tim Owens assisting. After Austin was arrested on several charges and placed in the back of a patrol car, Austin became violent and attempted to break the patrol car window with his head, according to the report.

“He was then transported to the Lawrence County Jail, where he continued to be belligerent and uncooperative,” the report said. “Once inside the jail, he became combative with the Moulton Police Officers as well as the jail staff. Officer Owens attempted, several times, to de-escalate the situation, however, Mr. Austin assaulted Officer Owens, by striking him in the face/head area.”

According to the report, Owens was struck several times before Austin was restrained to a chair. Following the incident, the felony assault charged was added to Austin’s case. 

Police Chief Craig Knight said officer Owens did not require medical attention. No other injuries were reported following the incident. 

Austin was booked into the Lawrence County Jail with bond set at $8,000. 

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