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Memphis Man Leads Cops On Chase

Not So Fun Now – Christopher Woodard, 31, is not happy after being apprehended by deputy David Wallis. Woodard led deputies and police on a vehicle and foot chase last Wednesday afternoon after he did not pay for gas pumped at Sylva Rena Grocery. He was also wanted by Shelby County, Tenn. authorities. – Photo by Jack Gurner

Deputy David Wallis examines a jacket discarded by the suspect during the foot chase on Wagner Street.

By David Howell

WATER VALLEY –  A Mem-phis man who pumped $50 in gas and tried to pay with a stolen check led Yalobusha deputies on a car chase and foot chase that weaved through Water Valley last Wednesday afternoon.

    Christopher Woodard, 31, was able to evade capture twice, and led authorities on a vehicle and foot chase  before he was apprehended at Tony Spearman’s garage on Railroad Street.   

The Chase

    Deputy Thomas West, who was off-duty, was eating at Sylva Rena Grocery and Bait when Woodard stopped at the store last Wednesday. He pumped $50 in gas in his car and gave a check to the cashier. The temporary check, which was stolen, did not have a name on it and when the cashier asked for additional information Woodard went back to his vehicle and fled.

     West followed Woodard as he headed into town as deputy David Wallis was dispatched and headed from the jail toward Hwy. 32 .

    “I saw a car matching the description when I got to the intersection at Frostland and Main Street,” Wallis reported.

    Woodard was blocked in traffic at the intersection, so Wallis was able to pull beside him.

    “I got out and was going to open the door when he backed up, and took off headed up Main Street,” Wallis said. It took Wallis a minute to get turned around and in pursuit, giving Woodard a head start.

    “He was weaving in and out of traffic, but I thought I saw him turn on Wood Street,” Wallis explained.

    Wallis then lost Woodard, who parked his car and headed toward a friend’s residence on Wagner Street.

    By that time deputy West had made it to town and was headed up Wagner Street, after determining the tag on the vehicle Woodard had been driving was registered to a Wagner address.

    “West recognized the guy walking up the road. He was easy to identify because he had turned his jacket inside out,” Humphreys said.

    West quickly jumped out and grabbed Woodard and pinned him against his car.

    “West was off-duty and did not have his uniform on. He had to reach inside his car to grab the handcuffs,” Humphreys explained. “He had one hand on Woodard, who was able to break free and take off running.

    Woodard then ran up Duncan Street and ducked in the back of Midtown Auto Parts, ran through the business and exited on Main Street.

    One Midtown employee noticed Woodard walk through the store, stop at the front store and look both ways before heading across Main Street.

    “He just walked through here,” the employee noted.

    Woodard then made it to Tony’s Garage on foot and was hiding again.

    “Tony called the police and said the guy we were looking for was outside his business,” Humphreys said.

    Woodard was found hiding under a vehicle and arrested by deputies Wallis and West and Water Valley police officer Tony Hernandez.

False Identity

    After he was apprehended and transported to the jail, he continued to resist by providing a false name to authorities.

    “He told us he was Christian Hollis, Humphreys reported. “We had a strong hunch that he was not Hollis, but initially we had trouble determining his true identity.”

    A break came when deputy Thomas West received a call from the real Christian Hollis, who was kin to Woodard.

    “The dispatcher said we had a call from Hollis. I said, Hollis, he is in jail,” West said.

    After determining his true identity, deputies determined that Woodard was wanted by the Shelby County Sheriff’s Department for numerous driving and misdemeanor warrants and one felony warrant.

    He also faces several charges from last Wednesday, including felony evasion, disorderly conduct, and resisting arrest.

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