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I-55 Chase Ends With Four-Car Pile-Up

A police pursuit on I-55 ended with a four-car crash Saturday night at the Oakland exit. One person was seriously injured after the fleeing Memphis man tried to drive between two southbound vehicles, setting off a chain reaction crash that also sideswiped deputy Thomas West’s Tahoe (left). One person was seriously injured in the incident – Photo by Carolyn Drake

OAKLAND – A 52-mile police pursuit on I-55 that started in Desoto County ended with a multi-car pileup at the Oakland exit Saturday night after a high-speed trip through Tate and Panola counties.  One person was injured in the incident and a Memphis man was charged with six counts of aggravated assault, one count of aggravated assault on a police officer and one count of possession of a stolen vehicle according to Yalobusha County Sheriff Lance Humphreys.

Multiple agencies were involved in the pursuit that started when officers with the Hernando Police Department tried to stop the stolen vehicle after a license tag reader at the state line alerted authorities. Humphreys said that units from Senatobia and Sardis police departments and Panola County deputies also joined the southbound chase on I-55 that ended when the driver of the stolen car, Martavius Davis, tried to drive between two cars on the interstate, striking both of them.

A Yalobusha County deputy who was inside his parked vehicle on the side of the interstate was struck during the four-car collision. Humphreys said deputy Thomas West had pulled over to see if he had time to deploy stop sticks when Davis struck the vehicles, catapulting a BMW toward West’s Chevrolet Tahoe.

“Thomas actually saw the wreck and the car coming toward him, he was able to back up just before the impact and minimize damage,” Humphreys explained. “He was very lucky and was not injured.”

The driver of the BMW was treated at the scene by Yalobusha County deputy Taylor Byford, who is also a trained paramedic, until a medevac helicopter landed on the interstate to transport the injured man. As of Sunday night the man remained in the trauma unit at The Med in Memphis. 

Davis, age 23, is currently in custody in the Yalobusha County Detention Center. Humphreys said he had a previous arrest history that included a conviction for armed robbery. Justice Court Judge Steve Riley set a $100,000 bond for Davis during court Monday. 

• In other law enforcement news Humphreys said his department is investigating an early morning break-in at Dunn’s Country Store on Hwy. 32 West. Humphreys said video surveillance recorded a white male, approximately 5 feet 10 inches tall entered the store around 3:30 a.m. Friday morning. Items reported stolen were cigarettes, gas and a first aid kit. 

“We have submitted evidence to the crime lab including finger prints,” Humphreys said. “Several people of interest have also been interviewed in connection with the case, we have some pretty good leads.”

Humphreys said a surveillance camera at a location adjacent to the business also recorded activity at the store including a deputy pulling in to check the business at 2:36 a.m. prior to the break-in. 

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