By DON FLETCHER
News Staff Writer
An Ohio woman was arrested February 15 after she stole a pickup from a local gas station and led Alabama state troopers and Atmore police on a high-speed chase during which she reportedly rammed a trooper car before crashing the stolen truck in Baldwin County.
The incident began around 7:22 a.m., when Atmore PD officers were sent to the Chevron station on Alabama 21, near Interstate 65, in response to a reported vehicle theft.
According to police reports, officers learned that a gray Chevrolet Tahoe had been stolen while it sat stationary at the gas pump. Witnesses said a female — later identified as 22-year-old Hayli Dawn Lape of Columbus, Ohio — jumped into the vehicle and sped away, damaging the gas pump as she did so.
A state trooper was the first to spot the stolen vehicle and immediately gave chase. Two APD units also joined the pursuit as Lape drove onto I-65’s southbound lanes and continued at a high rate of speed. She left the interstate at Baldwin County Road 47 (the Rabun-Perdido exit) and crashed the purloined pickup shortly thereafter.
“We had two units that were pretty close to the area when the trooper spotted the car,” said APD Chief Chuck Brooks. “They joined the pursuit but stayed pretty much behind it.”
A witness reported that Lape rammed the stolen truck into a trooper vehicle during the chase. Brooks said he had heard such a report but could not verify it.
“I heard that she rammed one of them when they tried to box her in, but I don’t know for sure,” the APD chief said. “I can’t confirm it or deny it.”
ALEA Senior Trooper Gary Cole said late Tuesday that Lape actually ram two trooper cars during the slow-speed portion of the chase.
After Lape lost control and crashed the stolen vehicle, she reportedly tried to flee on foot. The Ohio woman was apprehended a short time later and placed under arrest. She suffered minor injuries in the crash and was taken to North Baldwin Infirmary in Bay Minette, where she was treated and released.
Once she was released from the hospital, Lape was taken to the Escambia County Detention Center. She was processed into the jail at 5:56 p.m. on the incident date and remained behind bars late Monday, February 22, awaiting a bond hearing on charges of first-degree theft of property and fleeing or attempting to elude law enforcement.