UPDATE: On Sunday, September 12, Senatobia Police Department made a social media post, signed by SPD Assistant Chief Matt Defore, stating the following in reference to the pursuit which occurred Aug. 28.
"On Saturday August 28, 2021 at approximately 4:30pm, Senatobia officers pursued a stolen vehicle, which resulted in the arrests of two criminal suspects who were from Memphis, Tennessee."
However, stolen property was not the cause for the pursuit according to public records released by the department to the Tate Record.
When questioned as to why SPD initiated the traffic stop, Assistant Chief Matt Defore, did not comment; however, according to the social media post, "Officers observed that this vehicle was displaying a suspicious temporary paper tag, which are commonly counterfeited and used to conceal criminal activities."
The social media post by SPD continues by stating the following:
"The driver of the stolen car then behaved evasively and fled into the residential area of E. Gilmore Street. The suspects eventually traveled southbound on Interstate 55 into Panola County at speeds exceeding 100 miles per hour. The pursuit ended when the stolen vehicle attempted to make an abrupt turn and a Senatobia officer collided with it."
According to public record, Sergeant Trentham pursued the vehicle going westbound on East Gilmore before turning right onto Heard Street. The vehicle then made a right turn on to East Main Street and took the on ramp to head southbound on I- 55.
The report also states traffic was light on I-55 and the vehicle was traveling at a high rate of speed, before taking the Como exit, crossing and immediately re-entering I-55. The pursuit continued and the vehicle driven by James Hardge, later identified by Officer Hoffman, took the exit at Sardis Dam.
Alisa Pittman, who was traveling southbound on I-55 during the time of the pursuit said safety was in issue for travelers.
"I was driving in the right lane headed south when a red car flew by in the left lane. I mean he had to be going 100 or more. As I was trying to process what just happened a Senatobia Police car passed me right behind the red car. There were cars in both lanes ahead of me so the red car went to the shoulder on the right side followed by the Senatobia police car and another police car that joined them. They got off at the Sardis exit. My concern was they flew up on us so fast there was no time to react. If I had not slowed down enough mostly out of fear, they would have hit me trying to cross in front to get to the right shoulder or hit one or both of the two cars ahead of me."
Following redactions from the report, it is described as follows:
"The vehicle attempted to make a left hand turn onto Highway 51 from East Lee Street where he lost control of the vehicle and hit a stop sign and knocked it down. The vehicle continued Southbound on Hwy 51 after regaining control. We then continued down Hwy 51 at a high rate of speed still with light traffic."
The social media post by SPD states the following:
"A police cruiser did sustain damage and the stolen vehicle was damaged when it overturned into a ditch. A Senatobia officer was treated for minor injuries. There were no injuries to the suspects."
According to the report, the vehicle attempted to make a left hand turn onto Thermos Drive at a high rate of speed while slamming on his brakes. It was at this point, Sergeant Trentham attempted to also slam on brakes, but collided with the driver side rear panel of the vehicle.
In a report released by Mississippi Highway Patrol, the 2017 Dodge Charger driven by Sergeant Trentham collided with the rear of the Dodge Challenger driven by Hardge.
When asked if speed was a factor in the vehicle collision, Assistant Chief Matt Defore stated, "Regarding the contributing factors of the crash, MHP investigated the crash, so any questions on that topic would need to be referred to them."
The cause of the crash is still under investigation by MHP.
Additionally, the social media post states that the driver was in possession of a hand gun and high capacity magazine, but according to public records, no charges were made in reference to the gun.
"James Hardge, 22 years old of Memphis TN, is charged with a felony offense of possession of stolen property (stolen car), felony fleeing and various traffic offenses. Marcus Crawford, 19 years old of Memphis TN, is charged with disorderly conduct," states the Facebook Post by SPD.
According to public records, Hardge was also charged with Speeding 31+ and no tag.
Updates will be available as information is released.
A Senatobia Police Department car chase across county lines ends with two jailed and two wrecked vehicles Saturday, Aug. 28, at approximately 4:48 p.m.
According to a report provided by Mississippi Highway Patrol, the wreck occurred on Highway 51 in Panola County.
Updates will be provided as details are made available.