Chase ends with wreck, injuries, flames
Published 12:06 am Sunday, September 23, 2012
NATCHEZ — A high-speed chase down Martin Luther King Jr. Road Saturday afternoon resulted in a van overturning and catching fire before all three passengers were transported to different hospitals.
Natchez Police Department Detective Jerry Ford said officers initially responded to several 911 calls at approximately 3:43 p.m. Saturday regarding a domestic dispute on Ram Circle.
As soon as officers arrived on the scene, a male suspect jumped into a minivan with two other passengers and took off heading toward Martin Luther King Jr. Road, Ford said.
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“Once they ran the plates of the vehicle and identified one of the suspects, the officers were going to terminate the chase and get an affidavit to arrest him,” Ford said. “As soon as they were going to turn around and stop chase, the officers saw the vehicle wreck.”
The minivan crashed and overturned in a ditch just off Pineview Drive.
Shortly after the crash, the vehicle also caught fire.
The crash halted traffic on Pineview Drive and Martin Luther King Jr. Road, but passerby Nici Davenport wasn’t one to just stay put.
“I just got out of my car and ran toward the wreck,” Davenport said. “I don’t know why because most people would have just sat in the car, but I just wanted to help as much as I could.
“I just couldn’t sit there and let those people bleed to death.”
Davenport used to be a personal trainer and has first-aid and CPR training.
She began applying pressure to one of the passenger’s head, which was bleeding profusely.
“There was blood everywhere,” Davenport said. “It was just a mess.”
After firefighters extinguished the fire of the vehicle and officers called for ambulances, Ford said all three passengers were transported to different hospitals in the area.
Larry Thomas was airlifted to Rapides Regional Medical Center in Alexandria, John Thomas Jr. was transported to Natchez Regional Medical Center and Robin E. Lunkin was transported to the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson.
Ford said he was unsure of any of the passengers’ conditions or if any arrests would be forthcoming.
“Our officers are still talking to witnesses and gathering statements,” Ford said. “We’re not exactly sure about arrests or charges at this point.”