By David Howell
WATER VALLEY – A Lafayette County woman was arrested last Wednesday morning after leading multiple law enforcement agencies on a high-speed chase that crossed the county. Sheriff Lance Humphreys told the Herald that incident started after a homeowner near Tillatoba called 911 and reported the woman was stealing items from an outbuilding on his property.
The sheriff reported Karen Hynous, 55, of Paris was charged with three counts of aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, possession of a controlled substance – methamphetamine, burglary of a building other than a dwelling, felony fleeing, resisting arrest, driving on the wrong side of the road, failure to signal, failure to comply, reckless driving, following to close, and aggravated assault on a homeowner.
Humphreys said the property owner flushed Hynous from his property, prompting a quick getaway as she hit his truck with her vehicle and sped down Hwy. 330 with both back doors and her back hatch open. The property owner provided a description of the vehicle and told authorities she was heading east toward Coffeeville.
Coffeeville Police Chief Mark Martin was the first to encounter the speeding vehicle as he waited at the intersection of County Road 211 and Hwy. 330.
“I had just set up, she was moving fast,” Martin said. The chief was unable to stop the vehicle after she sped around an 18-wheeler and turned south on Hwy. 7. Chief Deputy Jerry Ferguson and deputy Jim Bailey soon joined the pursuit and Ferguson was able to get in front of the vehicles and hit his brakes to try to slow her down.
“I looked in my mirror and could tell she wasn’t slowing down at all, she almost hit me,” Ferguson said, adding that he had to hit the accelerator to avoid a collision.
Martin was still lead pursuer and noted after the chase that he was concerned that some of the plunder piled in the back of her vehicle may came tumbling out on the highway and cause him to wreck, plunder that a later inspection revealed was a stove and numerous other items crammed in the back of the small SUV crossover.
Bailey coordinated with the dispatcher to get Water Valley officers set up on the south end of town to help shut down the chase, and subsequent radio traffic between the departments had officers waiting on South Main after Hynous turned off the highway and hit County Road 436, still heading north into Water Valley.
Hynous was able to maneuver around the first officers who were waiting as the caravan hit the city limits but the pursuit came to an end on Frostland Drive after Hynous wrecked out trying to avoid being boxed in by Water Valley police officer Mack Hickenbottom and deputy Bailey. She sustained minor injuries in the wreck and her vehicle was totaled. Both officers’ vehicles received light damage in the maneuver.
Hynous was treated on the scene and transported to the Yalobusha County Detention Center. Officers discovered methamphetamine and numerous items in her vehicle.
“We believe some of the items recovered could be linked to other burglaries,” Humphreys said. “I would like to praise all of the officers involved, the professionalism during this pursuit minimized danger to oncoming traffic and ensured we were able to get this suspect behind bars.”
The sheriff also stressed the arrest was important, as Hynous was charged earlier this year in Lafayette County with four residential burglaries and will not be able to bond out on the new charges because she was already under indictment.
“It appears she wasn’t going to stop unless we get her locked up for an extended period, maybe this will put an end to it,” Humphreys added. “I can’t say enough about all of the departments and law enforcement officers working together to make this happen, we could not have asked for a better outcome.”