A man who fled from a checkpoint and was later determined to be intoxicated eventually lost control of his vehicle and demolished 10 crape myrtle trees on Mississippi Highway 43 South inside Picayune city limits.
Pearl River County Sheriff’s Department deputies were conducting a safety checkpoint Thursday night just before 11 at the intersection of Caesar Road and Miss. Hwy. 43 South near the radio station when Sgt. Daniel Quave noticed a pickup truck leave a nearby driveway driving onto the highway, said Chief Deputy Shane Tucker.
Quave noticed the driver did not have the headlights turned on as the vehicle entered the roadway and almost hit another vehicle, the chief deputy said. Tucker said as the vehicle approached the checkpoint, the headlights came on.
At the checkpoint, Quave talked with the driver, 36-year-old Chad Michael Lafrance who gave an address of 812 Laird St., and asked for his driver’s license, Tucker said. As he did so, Quave said he could smell alcohol and he asked Lafrance to pull to the road side so he could investigate further, Tucker said.
Lafrance appeared to be pulling over but instead sped off, prompting the deputies to give chase, Tucker said. Lafrance sped down Miss. Hwy. 43 S. onto East Canal near Bill’s Quick Stop and then turned off his headlights. He then turned onto South Haugh Avenue and then took a right to reach U.S. Highway 11 where Picayune Police officers joined in the chase, Tucker said.
At the intersection of U.S. Hwy. 11 and Miss. Hwy. 43 N. at the Claiborne Hill shopping center, Lafrance turned onto Miss. Hwy. 43N., also known as Sycamore Road. Tucker said just after Lafrance passed the intersection of Adcox and Sycamore, he lost control of the vehicle and went up onto the median where his vehicle collided with 10 medium sized crape myrtle trees before coming to a stop. Firefighters with the Picayune Fire Department responded to the scene to ensure smoke coming from the vehicle did not breakout into a fire, Tucker said.
Lafrance was tested and determined to be driving under the influence and was arrested on the charges of DUI and felony fleeing and eluding a law enforcement officer, Tucker said.
Tucker said the checkpoint also netted four misdemeanor narcotics arrests, along with serving several warrants and issuing several citations.
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