Hell broke loose

Published 12:00 am Monday, August 8, 2016

A Senatobia officer holds a man believed to have jumped from the fleeing stolen vehicle when it was slowed at a Batesville roadblock.

Officers move toward their vehicles as they realize that stolen vehicle has passed Batesville roadblock and fled south.

Stolen vehicle wrecked on I-55 near the Yalobusha/Grenada county line.

It was as though all hell broke loose on I-55 Friday afternoon during a law enforcement pursuit of a stolen pickup that began at least as far north as DeSoto County and continued in the southbound lane into Panola County where officers from multiple jurisdictions converged in an attempt to stop the suspects just north of the North Batesville exit.

The first attempt to stop the suspects about 2:47 p.m. slowed the fleeing black pickup enough that two suspects were believed to have jumped from the vehicle. Southbound traffic bottled up behind the law enforcement vehicles while officers attempted to sort suspects from bystanders. The driver of the stolen truck was able to break free from the congestion and flee south with multiple law enforcement units in pursuit. There were reports of shots fired during the chase.

The stolen vehicle, with tires shredded at some point by “stop sticks,” and the pursuing entourage continued south on I-55 into Yalobusha County where the driver’s encountered a heavy downpour from an afternoon thundershower.

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Yalobusha County Deputy Sheriff Thomas West was in front of the caravan, trying to clear the traffic also flowing south when the stolen truck caught up with him. As the caravan near the Grenada County line,  in pouring rain and on damaged tires, the stolen vehicle’s driver attempted to pass West’s vehicle. Instead the driver to lost control, spun into the median and back into the traffic lane where it struck West’s vehicle.

Two occupants of the stolen vehicle were ejected and injured. The driver was taken into custody.
During the initial on-scene investigation, three Mississippi Highway Patrol vehicles were damaged by a lightning strike. Later, two troopers with injuries were transported by another trooper for injuries. The injuries were not believed serious and it is unknown whether they were caused by the lightning or other reasons.