Stolen blue jeans

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Fleeing police more costly than stolen blue jeans

By Rupert Howell

An alleged case of simple shoplifting led to a multi-agency chase and several felony charges stemming from an incident Friday afternoon at Okun’s, located near Wal-Mart.

Batesville Police Chief Tony Jones said the suspects, one adult and one 17-year-old juvenile, both of Clarksdale, refused to stop for pursuing law enforcement.

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“It was just obvious that they were not going to stop,” said Jones.

Jones rehashed the incident Monday stating that suspects left the Wal-Mart Shopping Center area headed east on Highway 6 with BPD Captain Clyde Estridge in pursuit.

Jones said suspects attempted to run Estridge off the road while heading east  before turning south on Good Hope Road east of Batesville’s city limits. The suspects later turned west on Eureka, where it is bisected by Good Hope, heading back toward Batesville.

The suspects re-entered the city limits and were headed toward 51 Highway on Eureka where detectives from BPD had blocked north and south traffic with their cars. The suspects drove through the intersection and took a left from Eureka onto Mackey which is a dead-end.

“They crashed and jumped out,” before being apprehended Jones explained.

Jones said there were 12 to 14 officers involved during the chase including deputies from the Panola County Sheriff’s Department as well as members of that agency’s Drug Task Force.

In addition to local police officers, BPD Special Operations unit and the constable were also involved.

Jones also explained that the large number of officers in pursuit was not relevant to the shoplifting crime, but rather to the fact that lives were endangered when the suspects decided to run, attempting to harm a police officer and endangering lives of others on the road.

BPD Sgt. Scott Cagle’s incident report stated that items taken, mostly jeans and tennis shoes, were valued at $592.91, making the shoplifting charge felonious.

The docket at Panola County Jail states that Demarco Antonio Brown, 18 of 630 Lynn Ave., Clarksdale was arrested Friday evening. Jones also confirmed that a 17-year-old from Clarksdale was also handed over juvenile authorities.

Charges on the docket include three counts of aggravated assault on a police officer, felony fleeing and felony shoplifting.

Jones commended Panola County Sheriff’s Department for their assistance and stated that “talk” of the departments not working together was largely unfounded.

“We’re working together and trying to give the people the best law enforcement possible,” Jones said before adding, “Any past friction is past. We are going to work hand in hand with whoever is sheriff,” he added.