By Russell Hood The Webster Progress-Times
A man was critically injured following a weekend high-speed pursuit that ended in a crash just outside the Eupora city limits.
The chase began around 10:40 p.m. Saturday, according to scanner radio transmissions. The following account is also based upon interviews with or statements from Webster County Sheriff Tim Mitchell, Deputy Sheriff Casey Henderson, Officer Mitch Jackson of the Eupora Police Department and Eupora Police Chief Gregg Hunter:
A man driving recklessly in a Chrysler van, who was westbound on Mississippi 50, turned south onto Mississippi 9 at Walthall. Henderson saw him running the intersection’s stop sign and tried to initiate a traffic stop.
Henderson pursued the man southbound on the highway as he continued driving at a high rate of speed. In succession, the man turned west onto Cummings Road, north onto Sibley Road and east onto Rock Mountain Road, where a male passenger jumped out of the van but was not injured.
The driver crossed Mississippi 9 onto Vampire Road, then turned onto Old Walthall Road — speeding southbound toward Eupora in excess of 80 mph. Henderson requested that the EPD stand by, and Jackson responded to deploy a tire-deflation device on Old Walthall Road at the city limits.
The driver lost control of the van at 11 p.m. in front of the Scogin residence at 714 Old Walthall Road, where he ran off the east side of the road and hit a utility pole before reaching the city limits. The van then started flipping, hitting two trees and ejecting the driver, who landed in the road.
Jackson, along with NMMC-Eupora’s Emergency Medical Services, which responded soon after, started rendering aid to the seriously injured man. He was transported by ambulance to Baptist Memorial Hospital- Golden Triangle in Columbus and remained in the critical care unit as of Monday.
The sheriff would not release the driver’s name for publication because of medical confidentiality and the pending investigation. However, the Progress-Times confirmed that he is a 48-year-old Eupora resident, and Mitchell said he is on non-reporting probation.
Jackson captured the crash on his patrol car’s video camera. The footage shows that the man was going at least 84 mph when he crashed. Henderson said the van’s point of impact was 351 feet from the place where it left the road.
Hunter commended Jackson before the mayor and Board of Aldermen during Monday night’s city board meeting for actions he took Saturday night.
As Jackson was preparing to lay a spike strip across Old Walthall Road, he saw a woman not involved in the chase coming his way in another car, driving about 25 mph.
Jackson ran into the road and warned her out of the way to avoid possibly being hit by the speeding van.
Mitchell thanked all agencies that assisted Saturday night, which included the Eupora Fire Department.