|Cops find 100 lbs. of pot after vehicle chase, crash|
|Kerry Craig | News-Telegram Assistant Editor|
April 26, 2006 - A drug interdiction traffic stop near the 114 mile marker on Interstate 30 turned exciting when the driver led officers Buddy Williams and Jason Ricketson on a high-speed chase that ended when the fleeing auto smashed into a tree. In the wrecked car, officers found a large quantity of marijuana.
Police Chief Jim Bayuk said there were two people — a man and woman — in the car when Cpl. Ricketson walked up to speak to the driver after the stop was made about 8:30 p.m. Tuesday.
"Ricketson asked the driver to come back to the rear of the car so he could speak to him, and the driver takes off," the chief said.
The driver sped away, headed east on the interstate to Brashear, where the chase moved to the south frontage road and the fleeing driver tried to cause a wreck to divert the officers.
When the chase reached the State Highway 67 exit, the driver crossed all lanes of the interstate to the north service road, still going east, then left the road and ran through a fence into a pasture and hit a large tree head-on. The occupants of the car fled on foot, but officers were able to catch the woman.
"[The driver] got away through the thick brush and cover, and they couldn't ever find him," Bayuk said. "They found 100 pounds of marijuana covered up with a blanket in the back of the Jeep Liberty."
Sheriff's officers and state troopers were called in to assist police officers in the search, but the running man was able to elude officers, who were using infrared equipment and canines to try to track him down.
Bayuk said the man apparently took off his shirt while running and spent the chilly night dressed only in shorts. Officers kept a close watch on the area throughout the night without spotting the man.
"That is kind of bad," Bayuk said. "He might try to steal cars or break into somebody's house. He's got to get back somehow."
The woman, identified by Bayuk as 23-year-old Latasha Ann Carroll, listed an address in Paris, Tenn. She was in Hopkins County jail Wednesday morning awaiting arraignment on the felony possession charge.
The police chief said he was confident officers would be able to get an address for the man who fled, obtain a warrant, and have him arrested when he returned home.