Monday evening at 5:15 p.m., Police responded to Airline Rd., in response to a home burglary and stolen vehicle. The homeowner said that several things were missing from the home, but the first thing he noticed was the absence of his SUV from the driveway.
A BOLO (Be On the LookOut) was issued for the SUV, a 2008 Chevy Trailblazer. OnStar was contacted and after a quick search, they sent CPD officers to East Columbus in the area of Beech Street. After a few minutes, the vehicle was pinpointed en route to Highway 45 North. Several officers headed towards the vehicle’s general location. Officer Joseph Strevel spotted the Trailblazer near Leigh Mall and tried to pull it over. The driver panicked and quickly jumped on the onramp to westbound lanes of the Highway 82 Bypass. Strevel gave chase and soon the pursuit hit speeds in access of 80 miles per hour.
The driver of the SUV took the Columbus Main Street exit, followed by the patrol car, before immediately taking the corresponding onramp back to the Bypass. With backup on the way and Sheriff’s Deputies alerted to the situation, Strevel followed the vehicle further west. The runner took a quick exit at the Highway 45 South Junction. He drove north into the parking lot of the Pine Bluff Sprint Mart, looping through the lot, and turning back south on Highway 45.
Driving extremely recklessly, the Trailblazer blew through the 3-way stop and following 4-way stop on Highway 45. After several near misses with different cars (including one Deputy), the driver continued south. He tried to make a high speed right turn onto Artesia Road. Being afraid to flip the top-heavy SUV, the driver left the south side of the road and barrelled the Chevy up a steep (and very rough) hill across from Bob Robert’s BBQ. At the crest, the Trailblazer plowed into a parked Plymouth Voyager, severely damaging the van’s driver side.
When the SUV came to a rest, three black males bailed out and started running in different directions. One male passenger was caught in the yard of the home on the hill. Within moments, the area was seeded with officers, both CPD and Deputies, and a manhunt ensued. A second passenger was caught ten minutes later in the woods near McIntyre Road. Within 45 minutes, the driver called his father (who came to the scene) because he wanted the officers to come pick him up. A fourth black male was dropped off at the mall before the chase started and was identified for later pick up.
All four occupants of the Chevy are juveniles between the ages of 15 and 17. Though the crime is a felony, their identities have not been released. 0