Batesville Police Pursuit

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 31, 2008

The Mississippi Highway Patrol works all automobile accidents on state highways, even when the driver is a police officer who was sideswiped by a fleeing suspect. Batesville police officer Gray Nickels (right) gives his version of the collision with driver Angela Flowers to MHP trooper Darrin Anderson. The Panolian photo by Billy Davis

BPD: woman displayed gun at bank, led pursuit

By Billy Davis

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A Batesville woman who allegedly brandished a handgun at a Batesville bank Thursday morning led police on a high-speed chase that damaged a police cruiser.

Fearing an automobile accident, or worse, police ended the chase and allowed Angela Flowers to escape her pursuers. She was traveling east on Highway 6 when authorities stopped their pursuit.

 Three hours later, Flowers was nabbed in Lafayette County after again fleeing from state authorities that included the Miss. Highway Patrol (MHP) and the Miss. Bureau of Investigation (MBI).

The chase began after Batesville police responded at 9:41 a.m. yesterday to a report of a bank robbery at Renasant Bank. Officers had already swarmed the bank parking lot when Flowers, driving a white Jeep Grand Cherokee, refused to stop. 

“She put it in reverse and said, ‘I’m not stopping,’ and she didn’t,” said Deputy Chief Don Province, who was second on the scene. His unmarked Ford Explorer was scraped by the Jeep as its driver sped away.

Fourteen minutes later, police logs show, Province called off the high-speed pursuit after Flowers rammed into a police cruiser driven by Gray Nickels. The chase ended near Central Academy Church of Christ.

“Because of her reckless behavior, I didn’t feel justified to continue the pursuit,” Province said. “Somebody was going to get hurt.”

Authorities also knew Flowers’ identify by the time the pursuit had zipped past the city limits.

“Since we knew who she was, I said we could file charges and let her go,” Province added.

The police department was still investigating the incident Thursday afternoon, but charges had not been filed by press time yesterday.

After the incident, Nickels said he and Flowers were topping speeds of 90 miles per hour when she collided with his police car about four miles east of Batesville.

According to Police Chief Tony Jones, Nickels and other officers had attempted a “rolling stop,” a maneuver that boxes in a driver.

Flowers swerved twice toward Nickels and hit him the second time, said Province.

“It was intentional,” he said.

Flowers was apprehended at 12:49 p.m. after she fled a sting initiated by MBI. Jones said an MBI agent, speaking with Flowers by cell phone, convinced her to meet him at the Panola-Lafayette county line.

Flowers did not know the agent was a law enforcement official, and she got “spooked” when she saw the tinted windows of an unmarked vehicle, Jones said.

A second chase ensued, this time with MHP and MBI in pursuit, and Flowers was caught in a rolling stop after a four- to five-mile pursuit, he said.

“She was driving west in the eastbound lane,” the police chief said.

The police chief would not say how Flowers had been convinced to meet the MBI agent.

Renasant Bank president Calvin Flint said he could not comment about the incident.