String of High-Speed Pursuits and Standoffs in Pearl River County

Published 9:17 am Monday, January 29, 2024

Over three consecutive days, Pearl River County has become the focal point of a series of high-speed pursuits and standoffs involving law enforcement agencies from both Mississippi and Louisiana.

The events began on January 22nd, 2024, at 5:37 A.M., when Picayune Police Officers responded to a request for assistance from the Pearl River County Sheriff’s Office. The call involved a traffic stop on Interstate 59 near mile marker 4, initiated based on a “Be On the Lookout” (BOLO) alert for a dangerous subject. Gerald Elbert Watts II was driving the suspect vehicle, a 2023 Chevrolet Colorado, and fled the scene, leading officers on a pursuit that spanned state lines into Louisiana. Watts exhibited evasive driving tactics, causing a collision with law enforcement units before his vehicle was turned off by hitting a concrete barricade. Following a seven-hour standoff, Watts was apprehended after officers used less-lethal force to disarm him.

The motive behind Watts’ attempt to flee remains unclear. After receiving medical treatment for injuries sustained during the incident, Watts is currently incarcerated in the Jefferson Parish Jail, awaiting extradition to Pearl River County to face charges of Felony Fleeing.

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On January 23rd, 2024, officers from the Picayune Police Department faced another pursuit. A BOLO was issued for a 2006 Kia Optima driven by Tam Nguyen, who had fled from officers in Alabama. Officers attempted a traffic stop at 9:55 P.M., but Nguyen accelerated, reaching speeds exceeding 100 mph. The pursuit crossed state lines into Louisiana, with Nguyen’s attempt to escape coming to an end in Slidell after wrecking his vehicle. He was apprehended by a Picayune Police Department officer but resisted arrest. A K-9 officer from the Slidell Police Department was utilized to subdue Nguyen, who is now awaiting extradition to face charges of Felony Fleeing.

Just 16 hours later, on January 24th, 2023, at 1:28 P.M., Picayune Police Department detectives responded to a suspicious vehicle report on Frierson Rd. The car, a 2024 Hyundai Elantra, was discovered to be stolen from St. Tammany Parish and driven by Brant Dorsey, accompanied by a 17-year-old juvenile female. Dorsey attempted to flee from officers, leading them into Louisiana. Due to the vehicle’s existing damage, Dorsey could not go far and was apprehended on the Pearl River, Louisiana interstate. Dorsey is now awaiting extradition, facing charges of Felony Fleeing and Possession of a Stolen Vehicle.