WPSO: Teen arrested after high-speed chase

Published 9:04 am Thursday, July 5, 2018

A teenager was arrested Sunday after leading law enforcement officials on a high-speed chase through Washington Parish, according to Chief Deputy Mike Haley of the Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office.

Haley said that WPSO Patrol Sgt. Charles Easterling was driving Sunday from Bogalusa to Angie to investigate a report of a stolen vehicle. While en route, Easterling encountered the reported stolen vehicle, which was headed south on Highway 21. Easterling turned around and pursued the vehicle with emergency lights and siren.

Haley said that the reported stolen vehicle failed to yield and proceeded into Bogalusa, passing on double yellow lines, running the red light at Louisiana Avenue and reaching speeds in excess of 80 mph on Sullivan Drive while running other vehicles off of the road.

Haley said that WPSO Patrol Deputy Jay Dupre joined the chase and was able to force the stolen vehicle off of the road, at which time it struck a tree. Easterling and Dupre approached the vehicle on foot and commanded the driver to exit, Haley said.

The driver allegedly refused and attempted to use the pointed end of an umbrella as a weapon against the officers. Dupre was struck on the shoulder, after which he deployed his taser to subdue the driver, Haley said.

When the driver eventually exited the vehicle, he was arrested, handcuffed and transported by Northshore Emergency Medical Services to Our Lady of the Angels Hospital for medical evaluation. After being cleared medically, he was carried to the Sheriff’s Office in Bogalusa for processing, Haley said.

During the medical evaluation and processing, it was determined the driver was a 17-year-old juvenile. The juvenile then was transported to the Florida Parishes Juvenile Detention Center and turned over to the custody of the Detention Center staff.

Due to the juvenile status of the arrested driver, his name, photograph and other personal information is being withheld, Haley said.

Louisiana Senate Bill 324, which was signed into law in 2016, changed the age at which a person is considered a juvenile. Prior to July 1, 2018, a 17-year-old arrestee would have been remanded to adult custody.

“I am grateful no one was injured,” Washington Parish Sheriff Randy Seal said. “The young man made foolish decisions when he stole the vehicle and then refused to yield to law enforcement officers.

“He is now in proper custody and I am confident the juvenile justice system will manage him appropriately. Good job, Sgt. Easterling and Deputy Dupre.”