High Speed Chase Rolls Through City
A high-speed chase ran through Vidalia on Monday, January 2, as the Vidalia Police Department (VPD) and Toombs County Sheriff’s Office (TCSO) attempted to detain a suspected vehicle thief.
At 6:50 a.m. on Monday, the Toombs County 911 Dispatch received a call regarding the theft of a vehicle. The victim, Billy Batay, told dispatchers that a black male had stolen a black Ford F-150 from his residence, located at 3910 Highway 297. Batay said that he entered his garage and found an unidentified black male standing next to his vehicle. After Batay confronted the man and yelled for him to leave the garage and property, the continued from page
suspect entered the truck and left with it, traveling south on Highway 297 towards Vidalia.
As deputies attempted to intercept the suspect, assistance was requested from the VPD. A VPD officer intercepted the stolen vehicle on McIntosh Street and attempted to conduct a traffic stop, but the suspect fled and the chase began. During the pursuit, the suspect stopped the vehicle he was driving and intentionally backed up, striking the front of the VPD patrol car front and causing damage. Although the vehicle was damaged, the officer did not sustain any injuries and the car was not disabled. The officer continued the pursuit.
Later in the chase, TCSO deputies took the lead in the pursuit, as the VPD continued to assist. The chase continued west on North Street near its intersection with Orange Street. As the suspect passed the intersection of North Street West and Dixon Street, he began to travel in the eastbound lane, eventually crossing the sidewalk and entering onto the property of Ferrell Gas Company. Once entering the property, the suspect made a u-turn on the west side of the business and began to travel east toward the parking lot where a TCSO deputy patrol truck awaited.
The suspect struck a power pole, causing damage to the vehicle’s rear passenger side truck bed, before continuing to travel forward and striking the front passenger side of the parked patrol truck. Upon striking the patrol truck, the stolen vehicle’s air bags deployed, causing the driver to stop the chase. Law enforcement officers approached the driver’s door to take the suspect into custody, but the suspect began actively resisting the officers, causing one deputy to deploy a taser to immobilize the subject. Once immobilized, the suspect was safely placed into handcuffs.
The offender was identified as Marquis Javon Smith, 31, of Vidalia, who now faces potential charges for Theft of a Motor Vehicle, Aggravated Assault of a Law Enforcement Officer, various felony and misdemeanor traffic violations, as well as Damage to Property. The Georgia State Patrol Post 18, Reidsville, is also assisting in the wreck investigations of the patrol vehicles to determine if Smith should receive a possible charge of Driving Under the Influence. Once the investigation is complete and damage of vehicles is assessed, the TCSO and VPD will press the appropriate charges.
The TCSO issued a statement regarding the event. “The coordination between the Vidalia Police Department and the Toombs County Sheriff’s Office was instrumental in bringing this pursuit to a successful and safe ending.”