Shoulda Buckled Up!
For lack of a seatbelt, 32-year-old Devegas Liddell lead state and county officials on a high speed chase through the busy streets of Columbus.
At approximately 4:30 p.m. Monday afternoon, a trooper with the Mississippi Highway Patrol attempted to stop a silver Honda Accord near the intersection of Highway 50 East and the Highway 82 Bypass. The trooper was attempting to serve a citation to the driver for not wearing a seatbelt. The driver of the car, Liddell, initially stopped for the officer. However, when the trooper stepped away from his cruiser, Liddell sped away from the scene. The trooper quickly jumped into his car and chased Liddell while radioing for assistance from local units.
Several deputies with the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Department fell in with the chase, which proceeded from Highway 50 East onto Waterworks Road. As he was pursued by a handful of patrol cars, with several others closing in, Liddell turned West on 7th Avenue North and immediately veered south on 22nd Street before once again bolting southwest on Waterworks Road.
[When Liddell turned onto 22nd Street., he reportedly came very close to “t-boning” a Columbus Police Department patrol car. Though one of their officers was nearly hit by the runner, supervisors with the CPD instructed their officers by radio not to assist with the pursuit. This seems questionable when considering the time of day. At 4:30 p.m. on a nice day (like Monday), the streets of Columbus are swarming with children. The neighborhoods that Liddell led the officers through are heavily crowded residential areas. One would expect the department to go out of their way to cut the chase short.
This incident is just the next in a growing list of tensions between the CPD and outside law enforcement agencies, namely the Mississippi Highway Patrol. Issues between Columbus and the MHP initially heated up following the felony arrest of German Smith by a state trooper. Following that arrest, there were rumors of a “verbal memo” in the city that no CPD officer was allowed to back up an MHP unit on any call inside the city limits. While the memo remains technically unconfirmed, Packet staff have witnessed several incidents where officers would not back up an MHP unit. But, there have been just as many times when CPD officers HAVE backed up an MHP trooper. It seems that not everyone got the memo. – JD] Liddell continued his flight down Waterworks Road to 19th Street and blasted across Main Street near All American Quick Stop. He then followed 19th Street down to Bell Avenue where he turned east, then south on 18th Street.
At the intersection of 18th Street and 5th Avenue South, Liddell ran his Accord into a chain-link fence as he bailed from the car to continue on foot. The trooper and several deputies followed suit and chased the runner over fences and across neighboring properties. The chase came to an end when Liddell entered the home at 1709 5th Ave. S. The officers quickly gained permission from the homeowner to enter the residence.
Liddell was arrested for felony fleeing, possession of a controlled substance (a small amount of marijuana was found on Liddell once he was in custody), DUI, and not wearing a seatbelt.
The trooper involved in the chase received minor cuts and scrapes from a chain-link fence during the pursuit. An ambulance responded to the scene as a formality, but the always prepared Deputy Larry Swearingen treated the trooper’s injuries with his personal medical kit.
Lowndes County Narcotics Agents, in the area to assist with the pursuit, combed Liddell’s trail with a K-9 unit and checked the home for contraband. Inside the house, Liddell had attempted to dispose of a sizable stack of cash, leaving it in a pile on the floor. The money was collected and logged as evidence.
Liddell was transported to the Lowndes County Adult Detention Center, where he was served with additional felony warrants for sale of cocaine and sale of marijuana.
Learn to Walk Away
Just before midnight Friday night, CPD officers Stephen Kemp and Kevin Moore were dispatched to the Princess Theater in Downtown Columbus in reference to a fight in the parking lot. When they arrived at the bar, they found two males, one black and one white, rolling on the pavement, each attempting to overpower the other.
The officers pounced on the duo, pulling them apart. Officers Chris Vanhouten, Bobby Webber and Lamar Peacock responded as backup because a large group of the offenders friends had gathered and started badgering the officers.
The fighters, Joseph Buckeridge and Orlando Brown, were kept apart but both made several attempts to lunge at the other. After being questioned, the two were taken into custody and charged with disorderly conduct, with Buckeridge earning an additional charge of public drunk.
Two of the supporting characters in the incident also made their way into police custody. Lori Northington stood a few feet away from Buckeridge, repeatedly asking him, “What are you doing?!? Why are you fighting?!” She was instructed by officer Kemp no less than three times to go back inside the br or go home. Northington disappeared into the establishment for several minutes, but soon found her way back into the fray. She again started questioning Buckeridge. Officer Peacock immediately took the belligerent woman into custody. As she was arrested, her photo was taken by a Packet photographer. Her reaction to this was to scream, “CHEESE, MOTHERF***ER!!” Northington was charged with Failure to Obey a Police Officer.
As Northington was arrested, another individual with the group yelled, “F*** you, Packet guy!”, and proceeded to flip off the photographer. Unfortunately, this action caught the attention of Vanhouten, who immediately placed the man, Michael Cunningham, in handcuffs. He was charged with disorderly conduct.
[During the entire incident, a second black male kept telling officers that the two fighters were “just wrestling to see who was stronger”. No one believed him, especially when Buckeridge yelled at Brown saying, “You better get back before you get f***ed back!”– JD]
Friends Don’t Let Friends Drive… Their Shiny New Cars
Just after bar closing time Saturday morning, Lowndes County Emergency 911 received a call about a car accident on College Street near 8th Street South. On scene, responders found a black Ford Mustang, smashed against a decorative concrete light pole on College Street.
The owner of the car, Brittani King, 21, was riding shotgun, while her friend, Whitney Ford, 22, drove the vehicle. Kingi, having had too much to drink, had wisely opted to have her friend act as a designated driver. Unfortunately, Ford lost control of the Ford, pruning the light pole in the process. No one was charged in the accident. [The Mustang’s tag read “SPOYLD”, eliciting a chuckle from some on scene. – JD] Ford and King both had their parents on scene within minutes. Ford, who was visibly remorseful, cried that she had destroyed her friend’s car. She wailed, “I f***ed up her whole life! They’re gonna kill her because of something I did!” Her mother was very reassuring throughout the ordeal.
King’s father took a different approach. He was overheard telling an officer on scene that, “If that guy from the Packet takes my daughter’s picture, I’m going to kick his a**. Will you arrest me for that?” When informed that he would be charged with simple assault, he replied, “Then I’ll see y’all soon.” [The threatened assault never happened. – JD]
Friends Divided at Fat Daddy’s
At approximately midnight Saturday night, CPD officers responded to a disturbance at the American Legion on Chubby Drive. When they arrived, the disturbance was over. They were told that the instigator in the incident had left the property and was possible driving drunk on his way to Fat Daddy’s Nightclub.
The officers responded to Fat Daddy’s but were unable to locate the man. They did arrive at the club in time to assist security with a fight between two white females. The women, apparently friends on the outs with each other, were detained while they were checked for warrants.
While detained (and stumbling), Clairessta Harrison, the more loudmouth of the two, adorned in Bear Bryant houndstooth, kept hurling insults at her former friend, Amanda Morgan. The officers obtained permission from the woman to search her purse while they waited. Inside the houndstooth purse, they found a pint-size Crown Royal bag. Inside the bag, they found a small baggie of marijuana. She was immediately arrested and charged with possession of marijuana and public drunk.
Morgan, who spent the entire incident crying on a nearby bench, was also arrested and charged with public drunk.
SEY Hello to the Packet!
Early Sunday morning, CPD officers swarmed the parking lot of Sey’s Bar at Leigh Mall for a call about a fight in the parking lot. The caller stated that one of the individuals in the fight was on the ground, being choked. When officers arrived, everyone involved in the fight had vacated the premises.
While the officers stood outside, several people exited the bar carrying an unconscious female. When they saw the police, one of the group quickly said, “Get her back inside! Get her back inside! Quick!” This obviously attracted the officers’ attention.
When it was discovered that the girl had passed out from being intoxicated, the bar was immediately shut down. As everyone was ejected from the bar, a small group of friends stood at the edge of the sidewalk, discussing how they thought the cops were out of line. One patron in particular, Karen Cooley, decided to take matters into her own hands, literally.
Cooley approached each of the officers, stuck her phone in their faces and took their photos, while saying, “Say hello to the Packet!” Cooley got so close as to interfere with the officers’ work. She was pulled aside by Lt. Rick Jones and instructed to go home like everyone else. He repeated the order three times, while Cooley stood in place, staring at him.
After repeating himself for a third time, Jones took hold of Cooley’s arm and lead her to a nearby patrol car, where Officer Stephen Kemp placed her under arrest for Failure to Obey and Officer. Once in custody, Cooley protested that she was simply worried about Sey, the owner of the bar.
Earlier this week, Cooley stopped by the Packet to plead with the staff to leave her story out of this week’s edition. She claimed that publishing the story would damage her connections in the community.
Family Loses Everything in Early Morning Fire
Columbus Fire and Rescue Crews raced to 2425 6th Avenue N. shortly after 6 a.m. Wednesday morning in response to a stove fire. Once firefighters arrived, they found the entire home was fully engulfed in flames. Cypress Cato, who said she lives in the home with her two sons, said the fire began in the kitchen while she was cooking bacon and spread quickly.
“We lost everything, everything we have,” she said.
The Packet is asking any reader who may be able to help to call Cato at (662)549-1268 or bring donations to the Columbus Salvation Army. Her 12 yr-old son wears size 38/30 pants and her 8 yr-old son wears size 12. The family appreciates any help it can get.
Sheriffs Investigate Suspicious Item in Sewer at Leigh Mall
Rumors spread around the Friendly City this week that there may be a body clogging a sewer pipe at the main entrance to Leigh Mall. The chatter started after Columbus Light and Water was investigating a problem with the discharge coming from Leigh Mall businesses. CL&W General Manager Todd Gale explained the situation to The Packet Wednesday, “We were trying to identify grease and other sewer issues coming into our system…and we came across some questionable looking material.”
CL&W employees sent and camera into the pipe last week and discovered a large black mass blocking a main junction of the system. Rumors began to swirl via email and online that it was a trash bag of some sort and that some denim (as in blue jean denim) could be seen in the picture. Local residents speculated that it may have been the body a missing person. Gale said that the Lowndes County Sheriffs office and Columbus Police were notified.
Tuesday, work crews spent nearly seven hours carefully digging up the area where the blockage was present. After several tense hours, the encumbrance turned out to be a wad of Visqueen plastic with concrete covering most of it. Gale speculated that the materials pierced the main sewer line when work was being done on the Leigh Mall parking lot.
Gibbs Wins Special Election for His Father’s Seat
The son of the late David Gibbs will fill the rest of his father’s legislative term.
Karl Gibbs defeated challenger Eddie Longstreet 746 to 557 in a Tuesday runoff.
Gibbs will hold the seat for three years and then face re-election. David Gibbs passed away earlier this year after attempting to resign his seat and then rescinding his resignation. Days later he passed away.
District 36 covers parts of Clay, Lowndes and Monroe counties.