Law enforcement led on second chase in 24 hours

Published 11:49 pm Saturday, December 22, 2007

NATCHEZ — Only hours after one high-speed chase resulted in an arrest, local law enforcement faced a second early Saturday morning.

At 1:05 a.m. Eliot Ater, 18, and Jesse Morace, 17, were stopped at a health and safety inspection point on Colonel Pitchford Road between Copiah-Lincoln Community College and U.S. 61 South, which was in conjunction with a traffic safety grant.

Once stopped, the officers could smell marijuana and they noticed beer bottles in the back seat, Police Chief Mike Mullins said.

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When asked to pull over, Ater sped away heading toward Hurricane Road. Officers followed, but when Ater reached Firetower Road and exceeded speeds of 100 mph the pursuit was called off by the police supervisor.

“When calling off a chase we consider speed, traffic, road conditions and the offense committed,” Natchez Police Chief Mike Mullins said. “We seldom pursue in the city because it is so dangerous.”

Ater was then contacted by cell phone and asked to return to the scene. On returning to the roadblock, Ater and Morace were both charged with possession of a schedule I controlled substance. In addition to that charge, Ater was charged with felony fleeing a law enforcement officer in a motor vehicle while manifesting extreme indifference to human life and failure to obey a traffic officer.

Officers also obtained a small plastic bag containing two small paper patches, which tested positive for LSD, a marijuana cigarette with a pipe and alcohol bottles.

Both teens were released on bond.