High-speed chase ends in Natchez

Published 4:22 pm Friday, December 21, 2007

NATCHEZ — When Mississippi Highway Patrolman Kevin Oliver attempted to pull over a speeding car just south of Fayette on Friday afternoon, it’s not likely he knew what he was getting into.

Rusty Boyd, spokesmen for the Highway Patrol, said the driver of the speeding car Claude F. Johnson, 20, of Natchez, refused to comply.

Boyd said Johnson was driving 88 mph in a 65 mph zone on U.S. 61 South.

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Oliver radioed for backup and two other patrolmen accompanied him as the four vehicles sped towards Natchez.

Boyd said just before entering Natchez, Johnson was traveling at over 100 mph.

At that point, Oliver tried to box Johnson in and that’s when the pursuit got physical.

“Johnson rammed Oliver’s car when he tried to box him in,” he said. “And then sideswiped another patrol car.”

Before entering Natchez the Adams County Sheriff’s Office was called to assist in stopping Johnson.

“They just wanted some help getting him off the road,” Sheriff Ronny Brown said.

Boyd said just before getting to the intersection of U.S. 61 South and Morgantown Road Johnson let a passenger out of the vehicle.

The passenger, Robert L. Parker, 53, also of Natchez was later arrested and charged with public intoxication.

After leaving his passenger, Johnson took off north bound on Morgantown Road where he struck yet another patrolman.

Johnson sideswiped patrolman Shon Jones and knocked his cruiser off the road and down a steep embankment, Boyd said.

Boyd said while Jones’ car did crash into a tree Jones was unharmed but was taken to Natchez Regional Hospital to be examined.

“He just hit me from the rear,” Jones said as a paramedic looked over him in the back of an ambulance.

Jones estimates Johnson was traveling at 90 mph when he was stuck.

Continuing north on Morgantown Road, Johnson was finally stopped by the highway patrol and sheriff’s office, but only after rear-ending Oliver one last time.

Johnson was taken to the Adams County jail where he was booked.

“He was charged with multiple traffic violations, felony fleeing and felony assault with a vehicle,” Boyd said.

Brown said a small amount of marijuana was recovered from the vehicle.

“We are very thankful no one was injured,” Boyd said.