High Speed Chase

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 3, 2010

Authorities from Panola, Yalobusha and Calhoun counties are pictured here around the car owned by the South Panola School District that was involved in a high speed chase that ended just south of Pittsboro on Hwy. 9 Thursday morning. The driver was an 18-year-old foster child from Lafayette County. See the related story below. Photo by Joel McNeece

High Speed Chase Ends In Calhoun With No Injuries 

By Joel McNeese, Calhoun County Journal and Rita Howell, The Panolian

Editor’s Note: This is an updated story from the one posted late Thursday afternoon.
An 18-year-old foster child from Lafayette County led authorities on a high speed chase that ultimately ended in Calhoun County Thursday morning after she lost control of the stolen car she was driving on Hwy. 9 just south of Pittsboro. Ariel Collins was taken into custody after spinning to a stop off the east side of Hwy. 9 with nearly a dozen law enforcement vehicles from three counties in pursuit.

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Collins was driving a car owned by the South Panola School District. Panola County Deputy Sheriff Barry Thompson said Collins reportedly walked about a mile and a half from her home to Adonai Church in Panola County on Highway 315 where the car was parked and left in it.  Thompson said the church had been burglarized and items taken from the church were later found in Collins’ bag inside the car.

Adonai pastor Roger Howell and his wife Dana are school bus drivers for the South Panola School District and the buses they drive are parked at the church after they finish their routes each day. On Thursday the Howells had taken the day off and two substitute drivers were sent to the church to drive their routes, Roger Howell said. The substitute drivers arrived in the school district’s car and left it at the church while they drove their routes.

After the car was reported stolen, Collins had eluded Panola County deputies and gone to Water Valley, but fled after Yalobusha authorities caught up with her. The chase continued south into Coffeeville, Pine Valley and then into Calhoun with Coffeeville Police and Yalobusha Sheriff’s Department joining the chase along the way. Calhoun S.O. and Bruce Police soon joined in as she approached Bruce.

“I don’t know how she was staying on the road she was driving so fast,” Bruce Police Chief Stan Evans said. Several of the officers said she exceeded 100 miles per hour numerous times during the chase. Authorities worked to clear the roads in her path to keep anyone from being hurt. “I was really worried when she started approaching the square in Pittsboro,” Calhoun Deputy Dewyane Winter said.  

Officers from Calhoun City, Derma and the Mississippi Highway Patrol were all converging as well when she ultimately lost control in a curve halfway between Calhoun Academy road and Calhoun City. The vehicle spun to a stop with no collision and she was peacebly removed from the car and placed under arrest in a Panola County Sheriff’s Department truck.

“It was just amazing nobody got hurt,” Sheriff Billy Mac Gore said. “All the officers did a good job of giving her the space while trying to protect other drivers on the road.”

Collins is being held in the Panola County Detention Center. She is charged with burglary and grand larceny. Charges of felony fleeing are expected to be filed by the trio of county sheriff’s departments.