UPDATE: Suspects identified in two vehicle pursuits; woman in second chase rams police car three times

Published 8:01 pm Thursday, March 17, 2022

NATCHEZ — Two people have been arrested following unrelated vehicle pursuits across state lines on Thursday afternoon.

After a high-speed pursuit, Adams County deputies apprehended Robert Tolbert, age 48, from Hattiesburg, and would charge him with felony fleeing from law enforcement and hold him for Concordia Parish Sheriff’s Office, investigator Frank Smith said.

Authorities said officers received a call about a suspect fleeing from a drive-by shooting in Concordia Parish and the suspect crossed the Mississippi River bridge on U.S. 84 into Natchez.

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“We got a call saying the suspect should be considered armed and dangerous and our officers and ACSO joined in on pursuit,” Natchez Police Chief Joseph Daughtry said. “He gave a brief foot chase and we were able to catch him inside of Andrews on Main Street.”

Information about the shooting in Concordia Parish was not immediately available.

In a second chase, which occurred within a few hours of the first, a woman allegedly stole more than $200 worth of merchandise from a Vidalia, La., Walmart before leading officers on a high-speed vehicle chase into Natchez.

Vidalia Police Chief Joey Merrill said police pursued Rachel Gibson, age 55, in a car matching the description of one that fled from the Walmart.

“The car immediately sped up, driving through Vidalia neighborhoods at high speeds, going through stop signs and rammed one of my units about three times before it got back on the highway headed towards the bridge,” he said. Merrill added the woman also tried to run over another police officer and would be charged on both counts.

Thankfully, no one was hurt, he said.

Natchez Police and Adams County Sheriff’s Office deputies took over the chase once she and Louisiana officers crossed the bridge, Merrill said.

When in Natchez, Daughtry said the woman hit a parked car, causing “cosmetic damage” and no injuries, and was apprehended near St. Catherine and 4th streets after a brief foot chase.

“When she bailed from the vehicle, an officer caught her and tackled her down to the grass,” he said. He added officers learned she had two active warrants from NPD and she would also be charged with felony fleeing and multiple traffic violations.

Merrill said Gibson would also be charged with theft, two counts of aggravated assault on a police officer, criminal damage to property and aggravated flight from police once she is extradited to Louisiana.

“Everyone worked together to safely catch this person before putting other lives in danger,” Merrill said. “I want to thank all of our officers for keeping other citizens safe during the pursuit and thank Chief Daughtry and Sheriff (Travis) Patten for quickly answering the call and being right there to take over the chase.”

Daughtry said the suspects in cases Thursday showed dangerous behavior.

“The criminal element doesn’t understand that between Concordia Parish, Vidalia and Natchez and Adams County, we’re working together,” Daughtry said. “When people are shooting out of vehicles and ramming police cars, these are dangerous threats. Thankfully we were able to chase them down and we did it professionally so that no one got hurt.”