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Teen driver leads law on chase

WESSON — A 16-year-old juvenile turned himself in to WessonPolice officers at 9:45 a.m. Thursday after eluding law enforcementagencies during a 32-mile chase through Copiah County Wednesdayevening.

The juvenile faces charges of failure to yield to blue lightsand multiple counts of reckless driving, along with numerous othercharges still to be determined, Acting Wesson Police Chief LanceFalvey said. The juvenile is facing approximately 20 separatecharges in the incident, he said.

Traffic was very light during the chase, he said, and speedswere generally not excessive.

“Speeds sometimes reached in excess of 70 miles per hour, butmost of the pursuit was between 50-60 miles per hour,” Falveysaid.

The chase started in Wesson during a roadblock to check driver’slicenses, Falvey said. The suspect turned onto Wesson Street fromOld St. John Road driving a gold, late model Mazda 626. When he sawthe roadblock, he turned off his lights, accelerated in reverse andturned back onto Old St. John Road. He began accelerating whenofficers attempted to pull him over.

The chase progressed to Highway 51, and the suspect led WessonPolice officers back through town before turning towardBeauregard.

The chase continued, now with other agencies assisting, as thesuspect went through north Hazlehurst, caught Highway 51 to Highway28 and turned west on Highway 28, Falvey said. He proceeded downHighway 28 to Lofton Lane.

“At one point, this violator attempted to ram a sheriff’sdepartment vehicle and forced the deputy to take immediate evasiveaction,” Falvey said.

His first attempt to bail out of the vehicle on Lofton Lane neara residence with several people in the yard was foiled by lawenforcement officers, Falvey said. The suspect managed to escape inhis vehicle, however, and the chase continued up Lofton Lane untilhe was blocked in by a Copiah County deputy. He then left thevehicle and a foot pursuit began.

“The car was apparently left in gear because it struck a patrolcar,” Falvey said. “I think he left the car in gear on purpose inanother attempt to ram a deputy’s car.”

The sheriff’s office vehicle that was struck sustained onlyminor bumper damage, he said.

The suspect eluded the officers during the foot pursuit, Falveysaid.

He said he believes the suspect ducked into a friend’s home inthe area.

Falvey said investigators were reviewing video of the chase,including when the suspect left the vehicle to begin a footpursuit.

Falvey contacted the suspect’s parents Wednesday night andinformed them he believed their child had been involved in thechase.

The acting chief said he was grateful for the support of theCopiah County Sheriff’s Office, Copiah-Lincoln Community CollegePolice Department and Hazlehurst Police Department in thechase.