High speed chase involved stolen vehicle
Published 7:00 am Saturday, August 19, 2017
Picayune Police officers were involved in a high-speed chase early Thursday morning that involved a stolen classic car.
According to reports filed with the department, a patrol officer saw a 1973 Ford Gran Torino make an illegal turn at the intersection of Highway 11 and Highway 43 North at 1:32 Thursday morning, before heading towards Interstate 59. The officer attempted a stop with blue lights and sirens, but the vehicle continued east on Highway 43 before getting onto Interstate 59 heading southbound.
During the pursuit, the suspect vehicle reached speeds of 115 miles per hour, the report states.
As the pursuit reached the Nicholson exit, the vehicle turned onto Exit 1 but immediately got back on the interstate heading southbound. The report states that the pursuit continued for several more miles before the rear tire separated from the wheel, shredding on the interstate.
Assistant Chief Jeremy Magri said the tire struck the front of one of the pursuit vehicles, causing that officer to suspend his pursuit. Only minor damage was sustained to the vehicle upon closer inspection.
The remaining officers continued the pursuit until the driver pulled the vehicle off at Exit 5 B near the Honey Island Swamp Wildlife Management Area. As the vehicle exited the interstate, the officer noticed the driver was operating the vehicle from the passenger side before the suspect, later identified as 36-year-old Harold J. Allen of 12200 Old Highway 67, #60, Biloxi, exited the vehicle and allowed it to continue to roll into the median, the report states.
Allen then fled on foot into the nearby swamp, ignoring several commands from the officers for him to stop. The foot pursuit continued until the water got too high for the officers to continue.
At about that time, officers with the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Department arrived with a K-9 to assist.
Several more commands for Allen to exit the swamp were eventually successful when he swam to the bank near where the officers were standing, the report states.
After the St. Tammany Parish deputies took Allen into custody, officers noticed the ignition of the vehicle had been compromised with a screwdriver, indicating it had been stolen, the report states.
The owner of the vehicle was notified, who confirmed it was missing from his business.
An affidavit has been filed with the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Department to extradite Allen on the offenses of illegal turn, reckless driving, disorderly conduct failure to comply, resisting arrest, felony taking of a motor vehicle and felony fleeing and eluding. He is currently being held at the St. Tammany Parish Jail.