Ex-prison employee in Tensas parish led chase that ended with wreck in Ferriday

Published 11:41 am Tuesday, June 11, 2024

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FERRIDAY, La. — A now former employee at the Tensas Parish Detention Center in Waterproof reportedly attempted to report to work while intoxicated and then led deputies on a high-speed chase before he collided with a trailer in Ferriday on Sunday morning.

Tensas Parish Sheriff Rob Rushing said Richard Townsend “was currently employed” at the detention center when this incident took place but not any longer. “I will not tolerate this sort of behavior,” Rushing said.

Sheriff Rob Rushing

On Sunday morning, Townsend allegedly made a false claim that there was an inmate trying to escape the detention center before reporting to work on a day that he wasn’t supposed to be there. Rushing said Townsend arrived at the detention center intoxicated.

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A deputy escorted Townsend back to his vehicle and attempted a search when Townsend tried to drive off with the deputy’s arm still inside the vehicle.

“The deputy had to run alongside the vehicle to get his arm out,” Rushing said, adding the deputy was not injured and was able to get into a sheriff’s vehicle and join other deputies in pursuing Townsend.

They pursued him with speeds topping 110 to 115 miles per hour along Highway 65 South and then turned onto U.S. 425 in Clayton heading into Ferriday.

At that point, Rushing said deputies backed off of the pursuit due to traffic and Townsend continued driving when he crashed into a trailer being pulled by a truck.

Townsend was airlifted to the hospital and no other injuries were reported. He is currently receiving treatment for non-life-threatening injuries at Our Lady of the Lake in Baton Rouge, Rushing said.

Upon his release, Rushing said Townsend would likely be charged with aggravated flight from officers and multiple traffic violations. A blood sample was also obtained and is being tested for BAC levels for a potential DUI charge.